Archive for Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tonganoxie grappling with high heat index

July 19, 2006

Triple-digit temperatures are baking the Tonganoxie area.

And, although forecasters are predicting a cooling trend later in the week, that has little effect on today and Thursday, when temperatures are likely to soar to at least 100 degrees.

And if your air-conditioning won't keep up -- or if you don't have air-conditioning -- Tonganoxie Public Library director Sharon Moreland has a deal for you.

At the suggestion of library worker Jim Morey, Moreland has agreed to open the library's community room to anyone who needs to stay cool.

"Families need to come," she said. "We've got the community room, and we can put a movie in, or people can come and sit and read or use computers or do what they need to."

Among the first to take advantage of the offer were sanitation truck workers.

"The crew chief for our trash truck said he's going to let the guys stay here while he goes and dumps the truck," Moreland said Tuesday morning.

The library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.

Fan donations

Westar Energy hopes to help some needy residents stay cool.

The utility donated six fans to Tonganoxie's Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Food Bank.

"This is for people who really need the fans," said the thrift shop's Dorothy Korb, adding that the thrift shop had not distributed any fans as of Tuesday morning.

Anyone who doesn't have air-conditioning and meets income guidelines is welcome to contact the thrift shop about the fans, Korb said.

"We look at the application that we usually get from them, and we can tell from that if they need something like that. It's not just anybody who comes in off the street and says, 'I want a fan.'"

Korb said Good Shepherd would welcome other donations of fans.

She asked that donations be made between 9 a.m. and noon any day but Thursday and Sunday.

A break coming?

According to Jennifer Schack, meteorologist for Sunflower Broadband channel 6, today's high could reach 102 degrees.

Thursday's morning low will drop to 78 degrees, she said. Thursday's high will reach 101, she said.

"It looks like the hot weather will come to an end just in time for the weekend," Schack said.

Friday's high will climb to 94, while Saturday's high will be only 89 degrees and Sunday's high will be 90, she said.

Ironically, the recent spate of extremely hot weather has had only a little effect on attendance at Tonganoxie Swimming Pool, according to manager Darren Shupe.

"Over the weekend, we had one of our bigger crowds, for a weekend," he said. "Our numbers usually drop a little in July. I haven't seen any major increase in numbers because of the heat."

But regardless of the number of swimmers, the pool still must have lifeguards. And Shupe takes steps to minimize the effect of heat on them.

"We keep umbrellas up and keep them shaded," he said. ''... We take all precautions to make sure our guards don't get any heat-related symptoms."

And Monday morning, Tonganoxie Postmaster Ron Hubbard had a little chat with his six carriers who must work outside. Luckily, they're an experienced group and know how to work in all kinds of weather.

"I advised them to do the usual: Wear light, loose clothing and carry plenty of water and stay out of the direct sunlight as much as possible," Hubbard said. "They've all been doing this a long time, but I like to remind them as much as possible."

Hubbard said that in his 28 years with the post office, he's never had any heat-related problems.

"But we try to inform folks when the weather's going to be bad, one way or another, and the precautions to take," he said. "Most of the experienced carriers know well in advance what's going on and what they need to do to beat the heat."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.