June 21, 2012

Temperatures soar with summer's arrival

By MIRANDA ORSO, Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Thermometers pushed past 90 degrees, marking the official start of summer on Wednesday.

People throughout the area were feeling the heat and finding ways to fight the onset the season’s first — and early for the North Country — wave of extreme temperature.

Town of Plattsburgh Recreation Department Director Melanie Defayette said she had extra lifeguards on duty at Cadyville Beach on the Saranac River in the event people traveled there for relief from the heat.

“It’s never too hot for the beach. I have not been by there today, but I am sure it is packed,” she said.

She reminds folks who are headed outside to remember to be safe in the sun.

“Generally, even in this kind of heat, I tell people to just stay in the shade,” she said. “You don’t need to be out in the sun. There’s no need to work on your tan today.”

She suggests that everyone remember to stay hydrated with lots of water and to remember to generously apply sunscreen often when outdoors.

“This humidity and heat is a double whammy,” she said.


Other folks opted for ice-cream treats to combat the heat.

Shana Casabaura, who works at the Stewart’s Shop on South Catherine Street in Plattsburgh, said she noticed an increase in customers stopping by.

“It’s absolutely been busy since I got here at this morning,” she said.

Casabaura said milkshakes were proving to be pretty popular, although she said also scoops a lot of ice cream for cones when it’s hot.

“It’s hard to say what the most popular flavor is, but if we had to guess, it would be Philly Vanilla,” she said.

The American Red Cross issued a list of helpful safety tips on preparing for hot weather and safely endure soaring temperatures.

It urges those without air conditioning to choose places to go for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day, such as schools, libraries, theaters or malls.

Christian Diaz, an employee at Aubuchon Hardware in Peru, said people came to the store looking for air conditioners while enjoying the cool air circulating in the store.

“We actually had our last air-conditioning unit sold today. We’ve been pretty steady all day with people out doing their errands,” he said. “But it seems like some people don’t want to leave because it’s so cool here.”

He said the other units sold quickly and wondered what the future weather forecast will bring.

“Tomorrow,” he said on Wednesday, “it’s supposed to be even hotter, so who knows,” he said.


The Red Cross also reminds everyone to consider the needs of children and the elderly during the summer.

“Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help,” the release said.

Some may have difficulty adjusting to sudden changes in temperature and may be more susceptible to heat due to medical conditions or certain prescription medications.

At the YMCA of Plattsburgh, the pool was open, and Membership Director Melissa Brault expected business to increase with the rising temperatures.

“All I can say is get in the pool and stay cool,” she advised.

Alex Fregeau, who works at the City Recreation Center gym, said the facility was not very busy on Wednesday afternoon.

“There’s a couple of people playing basketball, but it’s been kind of dead here,” he said.

He wondered if maybe everyone was beating the heat at the Plattsburgh City Beach instead.

“I know it’s definitely been pretty popular since it’s opened,” he said. “I went there this past week, and the water was around 65 degrees, so it probably feels pretty good (Wednesday).”


It’s also very important to ensure pet safety during the summer months and in extreme heat.

“Most people love to spend the warmer days enjoying the outdoors with friends and family, but it’s important to remember that some activities can be dangerous for our pets,” said Dr. Camille DeClementi, senior toxicologist at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, in a press release. “By following a few simple rules, it is easy to keep your pet safe while still having fun in the sun.”

Make sure pets are always hydrated with a shady spot to escape the sun, know the signs of overheating, and visit the vet for an early summer check-up for necessary vaccinations.

Never leave pets in an unattended vehicle, as parked cars, even with windows open, can become very hot in a short amount of time, which can lead to heatstroke or death.

Brooke Taber, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Burlington, said the early heat wave broke records locally.

The closest readings he had to Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties were from Massena, a little west of Malone. The temperature reached 92 degrees there, he said, breaking the previous record of 91 set in 1953.

More hot weather was in store for Thursday, he added.

“People can expect more temperatures in the low to mid 90s, (and) with a heat index value (that) will feel like 100,” he said. “It’s going to be hazy, hot and humid. It’s going to be a warm, uncomfortable, muggy day.”

But Taber said relief was on the horizon, as a cold front was predicted to move into the area on Friday.

Email Miranda Orso: