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Heat is on, and that is not cool



Published: Tue, July 10, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

The summer’s hot weather and lack of rain is forcing some to make

adjustments.

By WILL HANLON

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN — Today’s forecast predicts another above-90 day, and the recent lack of rain isn’t helping to cool us off.

For sure, the grueling hot days of summer are here.

Mark Adams, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Cleveland, said things won’t be changing anytime soon.

While there’s a 50 percent chance of the Valley seeing rain Wednesday, Adams said as far as precipitation goes, “it’s going to be a one-shot deal.”

“Once that front goes by, we’ll be in the drought pattern until early to mid-next week,” Adams said.

As of Monday, the total precipitation for July has been just 0.02 inches, according to the NWS. Since June 1, the total precipitation has only been 3.69 inches; last year during the same time period, the total 3precipitation was 7.01 inches.

“You guys are doing good,” Adams said, referring to the amount of rain the Valley has received. “Youngstown is in a better state than anybody else in the [Cleveland] region.”

Adjusting to the heat

There’s no question, though, that hot and humid days with no rain have many adjusting to cope with Mother Nature.

Chief Robert Hian, of the Youngstown Fire Department Battalion, is one of them. Hian said now that temperatures are breaking the 90-degree barrier, his firefighters are making a conscious effort to deal with the heat.

“We’re staying really hydrated and making consistent alterations to our crews during firefighting,” Hian said. “We make sure we have ice-cold water on the trucks when they come out of the fire. We really monitor the ins and outs.”

Hian said his crew is also allowed to wear shorts when at the station with the higher temperatures.

Perry Toth, Mill Creek Park golf course superintendent, said he’s been forced to use about 20 percent more water from the irrigation system than normal to keep the greens from turning brown.

“We’re trying to keep what we have,” Toth said. He said all the golf courses around the area are probably thinking the same thing.

Toth is lucky enough to have the water from Mill Creek for the irrigation system — something not all golf courses are fortunate enough to have.

Other means

Most other places are forced to use other means. Petitti Garden Center in Boardman is just one of many businesses that have been turning on the faucets more than usual lately.

“We’re doing a lot of watering,” said Becky Rush, perennial department manager. Rush said an added stress of warm breeze was coming in and speeding up the drying process, forcing the employees to water more frequently.

As far as what Rush does to cope with the heat: “Drink a lot of water and use a lot of sun screen,” she said.

The Mahoning Valley Sanitary Department’s chief engineer, Thomas Holloway, said that during the fiscal year of July 2006 to June 2007, the MVSD pumped an average 25.9 million gallons of water a month. Due to June’s low precipitation, however, June’s total use of water shot up to 27.7 million gallons — 1.8 million more gallons than usual.

Among other reasons, Holloway said he attributed some of the extra usage to people worried about their browning lawns. “To me, watering your lawn is just the most wasteful use of water,” Holloway said.

While June’s use was well above average, and Holloway expects July to be even higher, he said there’s no need for concern anytime soon. The MVSD would first issue a water alert if the water elevation started to become too low, he explained. If necessary, it would then change the alert to a water warning and, in extreme cases, to a water emergency.


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