Heat wave makes Memorial Day feel like July 4

Frankford's High School Baseball team catcher, Eduardo Sanchez needed a little extra to cool off between innings during the Public League Cahmpionship Game, played at Richie Ashborn Field Friday afternoon. He and his teammates had brought a box fan to the game and they took turns sitting in front of it. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer )
Frankford's High School Baseball team catcher, Eduardo Sanchez needed a little extra to cool off between innings during the Public League Cahmpionship Game, played at Richie Ashborn Field Friday afternoon. He and his teammates had brought a box fan to the game and they took turns sitting in front of it. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer )
Posted: May 30, 2012

JULY CAME EARLY THIS YEAR with hot and muggy weather on Memorial Day, and the weather is expected to remain that way until Tuesday night, when showers or a thunderstorm are forecast to hit the area.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for Memorial Day and Tuesday, prompting the city to activate its summer heat programs that zero in on seniors and the homeless.

Temperatures hit a high of 91 at 3:59 p.m. (the low of 68 degrees clocked in at 5:31 a.m.), said Anthony Gigi, a meterologist with the weather service. Normally, May temps range from 77 to 58.

"It felt more like a Fourth of July weekend than a Memorial Day weekend," Gigi said.

The Love Park fountain in Center City had at least 100 visitors seeking shelter from the blistering sun and for ways to cool down. One family from Coatesville — spending the day in Philly before heading to Camden to see a concert by the boy band One Direction — sat near the water, shielded from the sun behind the spewing fountain.

"It was humid, sticky, hot, gross," said Liz Mekos, 31, holding a bottle of now-warm water and describing the day’s weather. She retreated to the shade with her sister, Michelle Mekos, 43; her niece Marissa,15, and a visiting friend, Merin, 14.

Youngsters, some dressed in clothes, others in bathing suits, splashed round the dipping pool, ironically running over the black chunky letters that read: NO SWIMMING.

The city’s heat programs include home visits by special field teams, a "Heatline" operated by the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, daytime outreach for the homeless, and the Buddy System, the city’s effort to encourage residents to look in on older family members, relatives and neighbors.

Health Commissioner Donald F. Schwarz warned that those at high risk in extreme heat are older people, individuals with chronic medical conditions, those taking certain medications, pregnant women, small children, people working in a high-heat environment and anyone engaged in strenuous physical activity.

Elsewhere, the remains of tropical storm Beryl soaked beach vacations and some Memorial Day services in southern Georgia and northern Florida on Monday and knocked out power to tens of thousands, though emergency officials said it hadn’t brought any major damage.

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