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July 19, 2011

Heat wave: Cass County hit by sweltering temperatures

With temperatures rising, health officials urge caution.

LOGANSPORT — Cass County resident Ethan Brown, 9, and his 5-year-old cousin, Malachi Aklilu, from Indianapolis, took turns charging toward the Slip ’n’ Slide in the backyard.

Ethan flew to his stomach and slid across the slide into the small puddle at the end. Malachi preferred landing on his knees to slide down to the end.

“It is fun, but tomorrow we’ll be sore,” Ethan said. “That’s when it’s not fun.”

National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Rehbein said Cass County and surrounding areas encountered temperatures ranging from 90 to 93 degrees Monday.

“We’re expecting those types of temperatures to continue the rest of the week,” he said.

But it felt even hotter, with Monday’s heat index reaching 102 degrees.

“There is quite a bit of humidity in the area, which is making it quite uncomfortable and dangerous,” Rehbein said.

A high pressure system is building across the United States and expanding into the area, forcing temperatures to climb. A combination of winds blowing off the Gulf of Mexico and moisture from the crops is causing humidity to increase.

Dr. Craig Pawlowski, a pediatrician at Logansport Memorial Hospital, offers suggestions for extreme heat. He encourages everyone to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of direct sunlight and avoid overexerting themselves.

“The very young and very old are the most susceptible to heat,” he said.

Ethan’s mother, Rebekah, said the boys spent two hours outside playing in the water. Malachi’s 4-year-old sister Zipporah actually was the one who wanted to play outside in the water.

“She only lasted five minutes,” Rebekah said.

Ethan’s 11-year-old brother, Calvin, bought the slide two months ago. He stayed outside for only a couple minutes also.

Rebekah said she already has plans to stay cool for the rest of the week.

“I plan on staying in the air conditioning,” she said. “I don’t know about them.”

Rocky Buffum, executive director of the local Red Cross, said his organization encouraged people to avoid working outside if possible.

“It’s also a great opportunity to use public buildings such as the library,” he said. “Take advantage of the wonderful institutions your tax dollars pay for and get a break from the heat at the same time.”

Logansport-Cass County Public Library Director David Ivey heard several people mention they were taking a break from the heat by sitting in the library Monday.

“I expect it will be busier later in the week, on Thursday or Friday, when temperatures are expected to peak,” he said.

Angie Harmon and her two children, 9-year-old Emily and 5-year-old Justin, stopped by the library Monday afternoon.

“We planned on walking, but by the time we got outside, it was too hot,” Harmon said.

So, the family drove instead.

Emily said she enjoyed reading, especially mystery books and the American Girl series.

“I don’t want to go outside,” she said. “There’s pretty much nothing else to do at my house but to play the Wii.”

• Denise Massie is a staff writer at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or denise.massie@pharostribune.com.

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