It’s hot, with no end in sight
Life guards at the Green River Swimming And Recreation Area in Greenfield were busy again on Friday as people sought out the river to cool down.
Stella Langlands of Greenfield keeps cool in the Green River on Friday afternoon.
The dog days of summer have arrived in Franklin County and it doesn’t look like there’s much relief in sight any time soon.
People are out in droves eating ice cream, buying air conditioners and visiting local beaches.
According to the National Weather Service in Taunton, there have been five days since June 1 that have topped 90 degrees and one of them was July 4.
That wouldn’t be so bad, a spokesman said, if it weren’t for the heat index. He said humidity has been over 60 percent many days, making the temperature seem much higher than it really is.
Also according to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to stay in the 90s today and on Sunday.
On Monday, the temperature is expected to drop to 89 degrees, but the humidity is expected to stay where it is for much of next week, which means an 89-degree day will feel like it’s close to 100 degrees.
The National Weather Service says it is the combination of hot temperatures and high humidity that makes it dangerous for people to be outside. The service has been issuing heat advisories to Franklin County residents for several days and expects it will issue several more before it’s over.
Keith O’Connor, a spokesman for Baystate Franklin Medical Center, said the Emergency Room in the local hospital had seen four patients with heat-related problems by 11 a.m. on Friday.
“And that’s not even the peak heat of the day,” said O’Connor. “That usually happens between 2 and 4 p.m.”
O’Connor said those four patients had a variety of symptoms, including dizziness, weakness and dehydration, and he said they ranged from athletes, who had been working out, to a homeless person.
It seemed others throughout the county either stayed inside, went to the Green River Swimming and Recreation Area in Greenfield, Lake Wyola in Shutesbury, or Laurel Lake in Erving, or they got themselves an ice cream at one of the county’s “creamie” stands.
“It’s been really busy here,” said Robyn Mason, co-owner of Country Creemee on Millers Falls Road in Turners Falls. “The Fourth of July was really busy for a Thursday, but I’m sure part of that had to do with the holiday.”
Mason said the Creemee is air conditioned, but by the time 100 people go in and out to use the bathroom or try to get cooled off for a few minutes, workers are feeling the heat.
Mason said on hot days, like they’ve been over the past week or so, people order mostly cones and shakes.
“They don’t really go for the hot fudge, because it’s hot,” she said.
Mason said she was hoping for a busy weekend.
“The only thing that puts a damper on our business is the rain,” said Mason. “We only have outdoor seating, so people don’t want to sit in the rain while eating their ice cream.”
Christy Moore, director of Greenfield Recreation Department, said more than 1,000 people rushed to the Green River Swimming and Recreation Area on the Fourth of July to beat the heat. She said vehicles “were starting to roll in” at a steady pace by late morning on Friday.
“We probably won’t get as many as we did on the Fourth, but it looks like another busy day,” she said on Friday around noontime.
“We were at the swimming pool for 15 hours on Thursday,” said Moore. “There were at least 1,000 people, probably more like 1,200, throughout the day.”
Moore said seven lifeguards were on duty on the Fourth of July.
“It’s really hot out there,” she said. “We’re constantly trying to keep our lifeguards hydrated. It’s tough.”
A clerk who answered the phone at Home Depot in Greenfield on Friday said, when asked if the store was selling a lot of air conditioners, “Oh yes!”
Beat the heat
Here are a few suggestions the state emergency management agency has to reduce heat-related issues and problems:
∎ Slow down and avoid strenuous activity.
∎ Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
∎ Drink plenty of fluids.
∎ Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
∎ Eat well-balanced, light meals. Avoid high-protein foods that increase metabolic heat.
∎ Avoid the sun — stay indoors as much as possible.
∎ If you do not have air conditioning, stay on the lowest floor of your home.
∎ Never, ever, leave children or pets in a parked car.
∎ Check on family, friends and neighbors.
If you believe you or someone else is experiencing heat-related problems, call 911 and, if possible, move to a cooler place.