For the second straight day, temperatures in Denton topped 100 degrees Tuesday.
At about 5 p.m. Tuesday, Denton Airport reported a temperature of 104 degrees with a heat index of 105.
A walk up east Hickory Street toward the downtown Square at about 2 p.m. Tuesday revealed several people preferring to stay indoors. People who braved the heat walked around the Square in shorts, short-sleeve shirts and sandals. Some shielded themselves from the sun by standing under trees outside the Courthouse on the Square.
“I’m not used to Texas weather,” said Patti Waschevski of Colorado, who stood under a tree for nearly an hour, a water bottle in hand. “I’ve never experienced this kind of heat.”
When asked her remedy for staying cool and hydrated, she said “lots of water and shade.”
Jason Dunn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said Denton reached its first 100-plus degree day Monday, reporting a temperature of 102. Temperatures are expected to remain at or above 100 degrees through Thursday before dipping into the upper 90s for the weekend, he said.
“It looks like we’ll just get a little of a cool-down … but, yes, it looks like it’s going to be close to 100 [degrees] every day,” Dunn said. “We may be four or five degrees cooler by Friday.”
According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality website, the air quality Tuesday reached the “unhealthy” level. Today’s forecast for the Dallas-Fort Worth area called for an unhealthy ozone level for sensitive groups like children, the elderly and those with breathing difficulties. Ozone levels were expected to be moderate Thursday and Friday, according to the website.
Olivia Vimba, business operations administrator with the Salvation Army in Denton, said the facility opened as a cooling center Monday. Through the summer, the Salvation Army will serve as a place for people to get water and “a cool place to sit and be away from the heat” between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
In the last couple days, a handful of people have visited the facility to keep cool, Vimba said.
“As more people know about it, I think our numbers are going to go up, but we haven’t had many people yet,” she said.
The Denton location, at 1508 E. McKinney St., is one of 15 Dallas-Fort Worth Salvation Army cooling stations.
Four heat-related illnesses have been reported in Denton County this month, as of Saturday, said Sarah McKinney, a spokeswoman for the Denton County Health Department.
Representatives of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for the majority of the state, asked consumers for the second straight day Tuesday to conserve energy between 3 and 7 p.m.
According to Kent Saathoff, ERCOT’s vice president of grid operations and system planning, peak electricity demand reached a new June high at 66,583 megawatts Tuesday, topping the 65,047-megawatt record set the previous day.
“The key is how many days like today are we going to have,” he said. “The more days like today, the more stress there is on generating units.
“That is certainly a concern.”
He said there’s no indication that electric plants are stressed and that there has not been an abnormal number of outages.
Electricity usage today is forecasted to be between 64,000 and 65,000 megawatts, Saathoff said.
Waschevski is just hoping the heat lets up.
“I just hope we have a nice breeze,” she said.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
TIPS FOR STAYING COOL AND HYDRATED
• Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
• Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine — they can dehydrate you
• Do not leave children or pets in a closed, parked vehicle
• Wear light, loose-fitting clothes
• Do not bundle babies in blankets or heavy clothing
• Check frequently on people who are elderly, sick or disabled
• Plan strenuous outdoor activities for early or late in the day
• Take frequent breaks when working or exercising outside
• Stay in air conditioning as much as possible
• Eat frequent, light, balanced meals
• Keep pets in the shade as much as possible
SOURCE: Denton County Health Department
During peak hours, from 3 to 7 p.m., the Electric Reliability Council of Texas urges people to conserve electricity and reduce grid demand by:
• Turning thermostats up two or three degrees in the late afternoon
• Turn thermostats up if people are leaving the house for the day
• Set pool pumps to run either late at night or early in the morning.
• Avoid using large appliances, especially hot stoves and clothes dryers, during peak hours.