Temperatures could reach record-breaking levels today, and residents are encouraged to take extra precautions from the heat.
“We have a forecast high of 97 degrees, not quite a 100. But there are other outlets which are saying we’re going to get closer to 100,” said Mark Monstrola, 21 WFMJ-TV meteorologist.
Bill Romine, meteorologist at Weather Central, said the last time Youngstown hit 100 degrees was July 16, 1988.
That year was particularly hot for the Youngstown area with several days in July setting record highs for those days. The record high for today is 98 degrees and was set that year, Romine said.
Youngstown recorded its highest temperature ever — 103 degrees — on July 10, 1936, and 28 area deaths were attributed to the heat wave before temperatures dropped 32 degrees in 15 hours July 15, according to Vindicator files.
Monstrola said residents shouldn’t just watch the temperature but also the heat index.
“Basically the heat index is an equation that combines the air temperature and the humidity or dew point, which is a measure of moisture in the air. Just like winter has its wind chill, this is the summer equivalent of that,” he said.
The heat index is expected to remain between 100 and 110 today.
Monstrola advised residents to wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, drink plenty of water and avoid drinking alcohol while outside.
“If you don’t have air conditioning and you can’t get somewhere like a mall or a movie theater during the peak time between noon and 4 p.m., we tell people to go to their basements. And don’t forget about your pets,” he said.
The heat wave is expected to end Sunday night, and temperatures should continue cooling early next week, Monstrola said.
Although it might feel like this summer has been hotter than usual, Romine said June temperatures were pretty close to normal until the last three days of the month.
“It’s nothing unprecedented,” he said.
The rainfall, however, is below normal. In June, Youngstown recorded 2.27 inches of rain, which is 1.2 inches below normal, Romine said.
“You walk on the grass in socks or bare feet and it’s like walking on pins and needles,” he said.