By SHELLEY TERRY - firstname.lastname@example.org
The temperature reached 89 degrees in Ashtabula on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, part of a heat wave that’s affecting much of the country.
It was 92 in Cleveland Thursday with a heat index of 99, making it the second hottest day of the year, said Kristen Yeager, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland.
Wednesday was the hottest day at 93 degrees, she said.
The National Weather Service is predicting the high to reach low 90s today, and that means another heat advisory will be in effect today from 1. until 9 p.m.
“The high heat indexes are very uncomfortable,” Yeager said. “We are expecting a cold front late Friday and Saturday with severe thunderstorms.”
The Weather Service warns the intensity and duration of hot weather could cause heat-related illnesses and residents should take precautions.
Ashtabula County Medical Center’s emergency department has treated a few patients with heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion, said John Broom, hospital spokesman.
“However we are seeing more patients who have breathing difficulties made worse by the high humidity and heat,” he said.
Melissa Shanley, certified respiratory therapist and supervisor of respiratory care services at ACMC, said when there’s high humidity and high heat, the air is thicker and it is harder to breathe.
“People who have COPD or other breathing-related illnesses can suffer because they are laboring with each breath,” Shanley said. “People who have heart problems may also experience difficulties due to the heat — it can wipe your strength out, and you feel very weak. Don’t push yourself.”
Shanley said the best advice is to stay inside in an air-conditioned room, if possible. For those who need to be outside, watch the humidity and plan activities when it decreases.
“If you have breathing difficulties don’t wait around to see if you feel better,” she said. “Come see us or contact your family physician. You need to get help so you can breathe easier.”
The intense heat even caused asphalt on Route 20 to buckle late Wednesday afternoon, closing one lane of the highway.
“Moisture under the road got hot and pushed it up,” said Brent Kovacs, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 4.
ODOT crews worked to repair the damaged asphalt all day Thursday. Kovacs said they expected to have it repaired by noon today.