‘Not much relief’ when temperatures reach mid-90s

Jose Hernandez with JK Excavating unloads materials at a home being constructed Monday, June 18, in Monroe. Temperatures in the low- to mid-90s were widespread Monday, with heat indexes more than 100 degrees. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Jose Hernandez with JK Excavating unloads materials at a home being constructed Monday, June 18, in Monroe. Temperatures in the low- to mid-90s were widespread Monday, with heat indexes more than 100 degrees. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Bob Ryder, owner of Vicker’s Demolition, the company tearing down the former Studio Theater on Central Avenue in Middletown, has his crew starting and going home earlier to avoid working during the heat of the day.

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The demolition workers also are encouraged to drink plenty of water and rest in the shade when possible.

But on Monday afternoon, with sweat pouring from under his hard hat, Ryder admitted: “There isn’t much relief when it’s this hot. It’s all about safety. That’s our priority.”

Soaring temperatures scorchedSouthwest Ohio over the weekend, constituting the region’s first heat wave since 2016, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Temperatures in the low- to mid-90s were widespread on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with heat indexes more than 100 degrees, she said.

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Three 90-degree days constitute a heat wave in Southwest Ohio, and the weekend wave was the first of its kind since July 23-25, 2016, Zontini said

The heat wave isn’t expected to continue, but temperatures will still be warm throughout the week. The high Tuesday is expected to reach 88 degrees and 85 degrees on Wednesday.

Medical professionals said people must take special precautions when temperatures remain this high because of the potential health risks associated with heat emergencies.

Extreme heat can occur “quickly and without warning,” said Jason Soles, public health sanitarian for the Butler County General Health District. He said it’s important to stay cool, hydrated and informed. Wear light clothing and stay in air conditioning if possible, he said.

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He suggested going to a shopping mall or public library if you do not have air conditioning. If you can’t make it indoors, stay in the shade and avoid strenuous activities, he said. Drink plenty of water and never leave children, adults, or pets in cars, he said.

Monica Smith, executive director of Central Connections in Middletown, said the air-conditioned building on Central Avenue is open to the public. She said those who deliver meals to shut-ins are told to check on their clients, and if they need additional services, to report that to the center.

AK Steel Works in Middletown may have one of the hottest work environments in Butler County.

Staying safe on the job is always important, and “special steps are key” when the weather heats up, said Lisa Jester, corporate manager, communications and public relations for AK Steel Corp. in West Chester Twp.

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She said the company has long established safety programs that are “stepped up” during the summer months each year.

They include: taking heat relief breaks and special rotations as needed; staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and that includes drinking water and sports drinks, and eating fresh fruit or freezer pops, which are provided at different locations at the plant; watching out for each other to see if anyone needs special attention; extra checks by managers to encourage employees to stay hydrated; and hydration card reminders and other signs around the facility to encourage employees to write down what they drink and take extra care to stay hydrated.

The company also has had training about the “important role” good nutrition and sleep plays in hydration, Jester said.

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Dr. Jill Aston, medical director of Atrium Medical Center’s Emergency Trauma Center, said because of the high humidity those with chronic illnesses may have more trouble breathing.

She said children and older adults also are at a greater risk for heat related illnesses because they don’t “cool off as effectively.” She said it’s important to constantly check on older adults to make sure their air conditioning is working and they’re drinking plenty of fluids. Sometimes, she said, seniors may not realize they’re medically in trouble.

Aston recommended drinking plenty of water and other drinks that include electrolytes.

Several people around Middletown found temporary relief from the heat by playing in the city’s Splash Pad at Smith Park. Laughter filled the air as children were drenched by the buckets of water.

“The water feels refreshing,” said Chad Jones, who sat in the Splash Pad with his friend and her 1-year-old daughter. “Get out of this water and stand in the sun for five minutes and it’s over.”

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