Oppressive heat to linger in Pittsburgh
The hottest day so far this year had some Western Pennsylvanians seeking relief and others seeking recreation Tuesday.
Foreman Dean Brinegar spent the better part of the day in Allegheny Commons Park in the North Side supervising his masonry crew's work on Soldiers' Monument.
Senior services director Eunice Boyd welcomed senior citizens inside the air-conditioned Hill House Association's facility and offered them water.
Dave Kohle embraced the heat as he biked around the North Shore during his lunch break.
“I love the heat, and the hotter the better,” said Kohle, 44, of the South Hills.
Tuesday's high temperature was 94 degrees, according to Tyler Wixtrom, National Weather Service meteorologist. Pittsburgh's record high for July 12 is 98 degrees in 1936, he added. The high temperature for Wednesday and Thursday is forecast to stay in the upper 80s to low 90s before breaking Friday back to the low-to-mid-80s, Wixtrom said.
Dr. Joseph Clark of Allegheny General Hospital said he has yet to see an influx of heat-related hospital visits.
“We tend to see that hot weather can exacerbate some previous medical issues,” he said. “I do expect it to grow through the week as the heat index rises.”
The best way to combat the heat is to drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun, he said.
Some local businesses are experiencing a bump in business thanks to the higher temperatures, including Ben & Jerry's ice cream on Penn Avenue, Downtown.
“Usually, the sun brings them in,” said manager Kenae Boyd. “We're starting to get ice cream in every week instead of every two weeks.”
Brinegar, 52, is used to the heat as a Graciano Corp. foreman. He's worked outside for the better part of 30 years, but he acknowledged that it never gets easier.
“The older you get, the worse it gets,” said Brinegar of Grantsville, Md. “It's hard on your body. I should have a long-sleeve shirt on, but I can't handle it today.”
Brinegar said he's suffered two heat strokes in his life, which is why he makes sure every member of his crew stays hydrated.
“If you're not thirsty, I'll still have a water bottle there for you,” he said. “I make everyone drink at least 16 ounces of water an hour.”
The Hill House Association opens its doors to senior citizens weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but with the recent heat wave, they are welcome to stay a little longer, Eunice Boyd said.
“We have no designated time. As long as seniors want to be here, they can stay,” she said.
Kohle, who builds transmissions for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, combines two breaks each day to give himself 50 minutes to complete his six-mile bike ride around the North Shore. His route makes time for a stop at the Market Street Pier on the Allegheny River, where he does a combination of 250 crunches. Kohle fully embraced the heat.
“It just feels so good,” he said. “My joints don't hurt and my body is loose.”
Stephanie Gumbert, 24, also stopped by the Market Street Pier for a bit of exercise; however, she opted for yoga. She takes a Healthy Ride public-share bike from her home in South Slide Slopes to either the Waterfront or the North Shore and back four times a week.
“I don't ever run, and I would never run in this heat,” she said, “but on the bike you get a little breeze.”
Norm May, 68, walked his long-haired miniature dachshund Inky through Allegheny Commons Park late in the morning. Inky has black fur, which makes walking during the summer hard on him, May said.
“Behind the house, we have a little back patio made of concrete where he can sit in the shade, but even that's tough,” said May of Central Northside. “He pants a lot even when not in the sun.”
Phillip Poupore is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.