Summer swelter

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wednesday tied two other days for the hottest of the year so far.

As temperatures climbed into the mid-90s and the heat index reached 100 in Cape Girardeau on Wednesday, roofer Tom Graham and his colleagues were out working on a building at the corner of Broadway and Spanish Street.

"When it's 80 on the ground, it's about 130 on a roof," said Graham. Graham said he works 10- to 12-hour days throughout the summer, even in the worst heat.

"You just drink a lot of water, and if you get too hot you take a break," he said.

Graham was one of the many taking that same advice as they ventured outdoors in Southeast Missouri on Wednesday. The high temperature reached 94 degrees at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, reported the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky.

Wednesday tied two other days for the hottest of the year so far. According to weather service data, the temperature reached those same heights on June 23 and 24.

Highs today are expected to go even higher, with the weather service forecasting a high around 96 degrees. That will be accompanied by heat indices of 101 to 103 degrees, not quite the 105 required to issue a heat advisory, but still dangerous.

Temperatures in the mid-90s aren't extraordinary for this time of year, said weather service meteorologist Dan Spaeth. The average high temperature in late June is typically in the mid- to upper-80s.

Spaeth said the local dry pattern, expected to hold throughout the summer, is unusual. The weather service placed Southeast Missouri in a severe drought Wednesday, something which usually doesn't come until late in the season.

Recent temperatures make the water one of the coolest places to be. By about 4 p.m. around 200 people had showed up to swim at the pool in Capaha Park.

Carolyn Cauble of Scott City took her grandchildren, 8-year-old Lindsey and 6-year-old Cameron to the pool. After taking a dip, she bought them red, white and blue striped popsicles before leaving.

"That should keep you cool," said Cauble as she handed Cameron a popsicle.

"It's not easy finding a place for children to cool off in the summertime," Cauble said. "You either have to go to the movies or the pool, and they chose the pool."

Cauble didn't swim, but tried to stay cool, anyway. "I've been staying in the shade and enjoying the breeze."

The kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs stayed in the shade too, enjoying a game of kickball outside the Common Pleas Courthouse under the trees.

"Sometimes we come out here with water or juice up before going out," said Dana Raspberry, who was overseeing the children's activity. "But we have plenty of shade."

A slight chance of thunderstorms today and this evening is forecast, but nothing large enough to cure the parched conditions.

Drier and hotter weather is yet to come, something Graham doesn't look forward to. In his job, the heat and sun makes him physically sick every season, especially around the beginning of August, when a high of 94 degrees is pretty typical.

335-6611, extension 182

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