Precautions Advised as Heat Index Expected to Climb Near 100 Degrees This Weekend

Eight-year-old Ayden Bailey of Bridgeport is pictured cooling off beneath a waterfall at the Bridge Park Swimming Pool in Wheeling Tuesday afternoon.

WHEELING — Area officials advise the public to take proper precautions as the heat index is expected to climb near the 100 degree mark around the Wheeling area this weekend.

Myranda Fullerton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh said temperatures are predicted to climb into the lower-to-mid 90s by this weekend combined with high humidity.

“We are expecting the heat to build in starting Friday,” Fullerton said. She said the daytime high temperatures for the Wheeling area is expected to be 92 degrees Friday, 94 degrees Saturday and 91 degrees Sunday.

“But we are expecting the humidity levels to remain elevated, so when you factor in the heat and humidity we could be seeing a heat index or apparent temperature values nearing 100 degrees. So we are concerned for the potential of maybe issuing a heat advisory later in the week and through the weekend,” she said. “Nonetheless, it’s going to be hot and humid. … We’re just asking for people to exercise caution when they’re outside and make sure your pets are taken care of and you’re neighbors are looked after — especially those without air conditioning and that sort of thing.”

Dr. William Mercer, a geriatician Wheeling Hospital, said says people should avoid going out in excessive heat, especially the elderly, but for those who it is necessary, they need to remember to hydrate themselves with plenty of water or a low carbohydrate sports drink.

“It’s going to be pretty hot and anything above 90 (degrees) we definitely worry about, especially for the elderly and especially for people working out in it,” Mercer said. “If you have to be out, make sure you’re getting hydrated. Water is still the best. If you’re going to be doing something kind of vigorous, the electrolyte solutions are helpful, but our body is made mostly of water and that’s what we really crave.”

“I worry more about the elderly and especially people on certain medicines, especially diuretics. Avoidance of the heat is best, but sometimes we can’t do that, so that’s why we recommend the hydration with water,” he added. In addition, Mercer said people should avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine, as they are diuretics that will cause people to eliminate the fluids they require.

Mercer also reminds those who are attending any of the outdoor festivals or swimming pools this weekend, to make sure they are using plenty of sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.

“Wear the appropriate clothing, loose fitting and light colored, and wear a hat and apply sunscreen every couple of hours,” Mercer said. “And avoid the direct sun if possible,” he added.

Becky Horne, executive administrative assistant with the Belmont County Emergency Management Agency said they have provided a list of the county’s 2019 cooling centers at local churches and fire departments for anyone needing to get out of the extreme heat. She said the shelters are available to the public throughout the entire summer season. She said officials advise the public to call a cooling center ahead so arrangements may be made to open the center. The public is also reminded to take snacks, prescription medicine, cell phone charger or any other necessities with them to the shelter.

The Belmont County EMA also lists pet safety tips for hot weather on their website. Those tips include:

∫ Never leave a pet in closed vehicle on a hot day, even with the windows open and/or in the shade.

∫ Always provide your pet with plenty of fresh cool water.

∫ Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days and take walks in the early morning or evening when the sun’s heat is less intense.

∫ Avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand which can burn your pet’s paws.

The Belmont County cooling shelter list includes:

∫ Barnesville Fire Station, 125 East Church Street, Barnesville: 740-425-3054

∫ Barton Social Hall, 52067 Church Street, Barton: 740-310-3425

∫ Bellaire Salvation Army, 315, 37th Street, Bellaire: 740-676-6225

∫ Belmont United Methodist Church, 129 N. Market Street, Belmont: 740-509-3040

∫ Spirit of 76 Fire Department, 53890 Key Bellaire Road, Bellaire: 740-676-7676

∫ Bethesda Fire Department, 103 East Spring Street, Bethesda: 740-484-4573

∫ Smith Township Fire Dept., 46389 Firehouse Street, Centerville: 740-310-0944

∫ Flushing Fire Department, 104 E. High Street, Flushing: 740-968-4700

∫ Grace Presbyterian Church, 7 North 4th Street, Martins Ferry: 740-633-2699

∫ Neffs United Methodist Church, 54040 Belmont Street, Neffs: 740-317-4935

∫ Church of the Nazarene, 100 SR7 South, Powhatan Point: 740-472-4105

∫ Village of Shadyside Community Center, 50 E. 39th Street, Shadyside:(door is open)

∫ Somerton United Methodist Church, 55400 Washington Street, Somerton:740-391-9060

∫ Yorkville Fire Department, 139 Market Street, Yorkville: 740-859-3488, 724-579-6408 (after 4:00 p.m.)

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