Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Cold front snaps heat's hold

By Howard Wilkinson hwilkinson@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Feeling better now? You should, the minute you walk outdoors today.

        A cold front passed through the Tristate late Monday afternoon and early evening, bringing with it scattered rain and breaking the blast-furnace heat that had enveloped the area for the past nine days and most of July.

        Cincinnati Health Commissioner Dr. Malcolm Adcock said the heat emergency declaration that has been in effect since the beginning of August is likely to be lifted today.

        Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky suffered through nine straight days of high humidity and 90-plus degree temperatures, combined with only the spottiest of rain, creating a vast expanse of brown lawns, rock-hard soil and parched farm fields.

        The good news is that today the thermometer is expected to reach only 80 degrees and stay in the low- to-mid 80s the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

        The bad news is that a much-needed soaking rain is not in the forecast this week.

        As hot and humid as it was, the heat wave the Tristate just passed through was mild compared with some in recent years.

        This year, after a June with only two days of 90 degree temperatures, July saw 16 days where the thermometer topped 90 and had a total rainfall of 1.38 inches - well below the normal 3.75 inches.

        But July 1999 was worse - 18 people in Hamilton County died from heat-related causes.

        This year, there is only one death authorities suspect might be heat-related. Last Thursday, 77-year-old Mamie Brown was found dead in her Over-the-Rhine apartment. The Hamilton County coroner is expected to rule on the cause of death this week.

        “We've done a lot of work letting people know what they can and should do to protect themselves in the heat,” Dr. Adcock said.

        Current conditions and complete forecast at Cincinnati.com/weather

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