AREA SUFFERING THROUGH RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES

Eight-month-old Aidan Kenney cools off Monday at the Hermiston Family Aquatic Center.

By Sara Shepherd

Staff writer

HERMISTON — Blistering, record-breaking temperatures hit the Hermiston area over the weekend — and they aren't going away any time soon.

According to the Pendleton Weather Station, Hermiston reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, breaking the record for that date by seven degrees, (it was set in 2002). Hermiston hit 109 degrees on Sunday, breaking the record by six degrees, (the record was set in 2002 at 103 degrees). Surrounding areas, including Pendleton, Meacham and The Dalles, all broke records over the weekend, as well.

Umatilla reached a scorching 111 degrees on Saturday and 113 degrees on Sunday. The temperature readings from Umatilla are too new to establish a history of high temperatures for record-breaking purposes, says Alan Polan, Pendleton Weather Station general forecaster. Morrow County and Heppner also hit triple digits both Saturday and Sunday. A heat advisory was put into effect for the Hermiston area on Friday, and ran through 8 p.m. last night.

"We're breaking records and setting new ones," said Polan.

For the Hermiston area, the average temperature for this time of year is 89 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the rest of the week, local residents can expect 101 and 102 degree weather. A weather front bringing in marine air from the Pacific Ocean has contributed to the temperature drop, he says.

"It will be a little bit of relief, but not much," said Polan.

Parents attending their child's swimming lessons at the Hermiston Aquatic Center this week agreed that the availability of an aquatic center has helped tremendously in the effort to stay cool during the hot weather. During the hot summer months, people need to be reminded to take extra precautions to stay cool and safe.

According to the American Red Cross, when the temperature climbs past 90 degrees for more than three days, experts recommend remaining indoors. Even short exposure to extreme heat may have harmful effects — causing dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke or worse. If you cannot avoid going outdoors, be sure to take the following precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses:

? Dress for the heat — Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.

? Drink water — Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.

? Eat small meals — Eat smaller meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein which increase metabolic heat.

? Slow down — Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.

? Take regular breaks — When engaged in physical activity on warm days, take time out to find a cool place. If you or someone else experience symptoms of a heat-related illness, stop activity and find a cool place to rest.

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