Hot spell is no sweat for residents

July 13, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Temperatures in Issaquah rose into the 90s last week, as summer weather made a belated debut.

The area posted records July 7-9 with three days that sent the mercury soaring past 90 degrees at Sea-Tac International Airport, where official measurements are taken, National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike McFarland said.

The 90-degree heat July 7 and 95-degree heat July 8 broke records set at 88 degrees in 1953, while the 93-degree record July 9 broke the record of 91 degrees set in 1985, he said.

During the hot spell, police officers, city officials and firefighters said they kept busy with routine calls, but there were few instances of people in distress due to it.

“There were a few calls from folks who were worried about dogs left in vehicles, but the dogs were all OK,” city spokeswoman Autumn Monahan wrote in an e-mail.

There weren’t any cases involving heat-related injury or illness, Eastside Fire & Rescue spokeswoman Josie Williams said.

The local American Red Cross chapter and Public Health – Seattle & King County reminded Issaquah and King County residents — including children, the elderly and people with chronic health issues — to take precautions to address the heat and stay safe.

To help, The Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 N.E. Creek Way, opened its doors to everybody who wanted to use the building as a cooling shelter.

“We were open late two nights, until 8:30,” said senior center Executive Director Courtney Jaren, adding several people took them up on the offer. “We were making sure people stayed hydrated and were keeping cool on those really hot days by encouraging people to stay out of the heat and drink” a lot of water.

They also provided air conditioning, ice-cream socials and calm activities, such as playing cards, digital photography, yoga and singing and utilizing a baby grand piano recently donated by Kathryn Volk, a Swedish Medical Center emergency room nurse and supporter of the senior center.

They also provided water, punch and iced tea, Jaren said, and they kept watch on some of Issaquah’s oldest residents.

The city opened the senior center and Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 71 as cooling centers during a heat wave last July, Monahan said.

The city didn’t open any cooling shelters last week. Instead, Monahan suggested that people go to libraries or malls and other free, public, air-conditioned buildings to escape the heat.

Local veterinarians said their offices remained fairly calm as well.

“We had one case of heat stroke, that I know of,” Erica Nelson, a veterinarian and assistant manager for VCA Alpine Animal Hospital in Issaquah said.

To keep your pets safe in heat, make sure they have an endless supply of cool, clean water; limit exercising them to the coolest part of the day, usually the morning; and never leave a pet in a car — even for a few minutes. Glassy eyes and frantic panting indicate a dog needs help. Owners can also take their dog’s temperature if they have a thermometer, Nelson said.

“Dogs’ normal temperature runs up to 102.5 degrees, so they normally run hotter than we do,” she said. “But if it goes over 103.5, you should call your vet.”

If your dog’s temperature is slightly high, move it to a cool area and give it fresh water. Do not ice pets down or give them a cold bath, as it can cool them down too quickly, Nelson said.

When might Issaquah see another 90-degree day? It might be a while.

A typical Northwest summer only sees three days of temperatures above 90 degrees, McFarland said.

“I’d say it is going to be an average summer, if I were a betting man, and I am,” he said. “We’ll probably be waiting for the next 90-degree day for a while. There’s also a chance we might not make it again.

“Hot spells are pretty special around here, because so many things have to line up.”

For now, temperatures are heading to a more normal range, McFarland said.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Intern Sarah Sexton contributed to this story. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

Record heat:

  • July 7 — 90°
  • July 8 — 95°
  • July 9 — 93°
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