The Journal Gazette
Thursday, July 18, 2019 1:00 am

Excessive heat arrives

Warning issued for upper 90s, high humidity


The rainy remnants of Tropical Depression Barry were expected to finish moving through northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio on Wednesday – just in time for the weather to feel even more tropical. 

The National Weather Service's Northern Indiana office Wednesday issued an excessive heat warning for today through Saturday evening. The weather service says temperatures will be in the mid- to-upper 90s and high humidity could make it feel like over 100 degrees.

By midafternoon today, the combination of heat and humidity will make it feel like 106 to 110 degrees a few miles west of Interstate 69 and 100 to 105 degrees east of the interstate, according to the weather service.

Friday is expected to be the hottest day of the week, with the conditions feeling like 106 to 110 over a widespread area from southern Michigan through central Indiana and western Ohio to western Indiana.

Saturday and Sunday will likely be repeats of Friday, although rain may occur both days. 

“It's going to feel pretty muggy out,” said Geoff Heidelberger, weather service meteorologist. 

The forecast led Three Rivers Festival officials to announce additional precautions for festival-goers.

Bulk water storage tanks, sometimes called water buffaloes, will be in Headwaters Park East near the carnival rides and in Headwaters West near the time capsule to provide free water, TRF Executive Director Jack Hammer said. 

The festival also has a splash pad and a misting station in Headwaters, he said.

The facilities will be in operation during Children's Fest this weekend, Hammer said.

Fort Wayne also plans to open an additional cooling station in the lobby of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, and Oak Street Health, at 436 E. Washington Blvd. will open its lobby from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hammer said he can't recall it “ever being this hot” in the 10 years he's been festival director. The extra amenities to keep people cool will cut into profits, he said.

“But it's more important,” Hammer said, “that we become leaders in community festivals and keep patrons safe.” 

Hammer added he doesn't believe attendance has been affected by the heat, but he acknowledged the weekend's attendance “was a little light.” 

He attributed that to more competing summertime attractions, some air-conditioned, than in previous years. 

He recommended festival-goers stay hydrated and take precautions including using shaded areas in the park such as the pavilion if the heat and humidity starts to get to them.

The weather service predicts rain and thunderstorms may move in during the weekend. The heat is expected to abate next week, when daytime highs in the 80s are predicted. 

If Fort Wayne reaches 98 degrees in upcoming days, it would be the first time since July 17, 2012, Heidelberger said. The city's record high for today is 97 degrees.

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