Heat wave expected to be short-lived

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yes, it is early to be turning on your air conditioner.

The good news is the unseasonable heat wave will be short, and a pleasant holiday weekend is expected, said meteorologist Mark Gehring of the National Weather Service.

Janesville's high of 91 degrees on Sunday was a record, according to Gazette weather records dating to 1929.

Janesville's downtown unofficial temperature Monday was 92 degrees, which would be one degree shy of the record of 93 recorded in 1933. The normal high for May 24 is 72 degrees, which was the morning temperature in Janesville, Gehring said.

Highs today will be in the mid 80s and will continue to drop through the week, he said.

A weak cold front is expected Wednesday night with a slight chance of rain, leaving a break in the humidity and a high of about 80 degrees on Thursday.

Heat effects

The hot weather sent people to the hospital Monday for heat-related illnesses and forced crews to work on buckled pavement.

The Mercy Hospital emergency department in Janesville reported seeing about six cases of heat exhaustion Monday evening. Heat exhaustion involves a mildly elevated temperature, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, tiredness and possibly dizziness and nausea.

Mercy had not seen any cases of heat stroke, which is a more serious, life-threatening condition, said Dr. Brian Dean, emergency physician.

State health officials warned people to take protective measures when temperatures are sustained above 90 degrees.

Officials recommended avoiding dehydration, not planning strenuous activities during the warmest part of the day, using fans and cool showers, and checking on elderly or ill relatives or neighbors.

Dean said the elderly and the very young are at elevated risk in high temperatures, as are people taking blood-pressure or psychiatric medications. In all those cases, the ability to moderate body temperature by sweating is limited.

The heat has caused heaving of pavement on the southbound lanes of Interstate 90/39 near the Dane-Rock county line. The state Department of Transportation planned to repair the uneven surface between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. today, limiting southbound traffic to one lane.

A wait to swim

Despite the heat wave, swimmers will have to wait a couple weeks to jump in the city pool.

If the warm weather continues, Janesville Recreation Director Bonnie Davis said she can expect complaints about why the pools aren't open.

In the last five to eight years, Janesville has followed a national trend of not opening pools until after Memorial Day and closing before Labor Day, Davis said.

"It's a money thing, but also because we can't staff past a certain date," she said. "Most of our guards and employees go to college."

The city estimates it saves about $6,000 by opening the pools two weeks later, she said.

The Palmer Park and Riverside Park wading pools and Lions Beach will open Saturday, June 5. Rockport Pool opens Saturday, June 12.

When swimmers get to the pools, however, they'll be greeted by improvements.

The biggest will be seen at Rockport, where more than $400,000 is being spent to upgrade the bathhouse, install a solar heating system and other utilities, and create a picnic area.

The bathhouse has a new roof, the inside has been painted and bathroom fixtures have been replaced. The concrete floor is being painted with a texture to prevent slips.

The facility got a new boiler and heat exchanger and new filters for the first time in decades, she said.

The upgrades, including the new solar heating system, will save utility costs. The city received $9,000 in grants for the solar heating system, which is expected to save nearly $1,900 a season in utility costs, Davis said.

Large umbrellas will be installed to provide shade at the pool for the first time in 25 years, she said.

With no trees around the pool, "you can't get away from the sun no matter how hard you try," she said.

Old toys near the end of the baby pool are being removed to create a picnic area with tables and a shade structure, she said.

Riverside and Palmer wading pools received plumbing upgrades, as well as a new fence and shade trees at Palmer.

The pools are scheduled to open on time, but work will be done up to the day they open and likely beyond, she said.

Janesville swimming

-- Lions Beach, 1400 Palmer Drive, will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Saturday, June 5 through Aug. 29.

The beach is a five-acre spring fed lake with a sandy beach, a grassy picnic area and bathrooms.

Admission is free and the swimming area is clearly marked. There will be no lifeguards on duty.

To reach Lions Beach using the Janesville Transit System (JTS), take the East Milwaukee Street route from the Transfer Center at 15 minutes after each hour and get off at the Ice Skating Center. Walk behind the center and follow the road to the beach. The last pick-up at the Ice Skating Center going back to the Transfer Center is at 6:05 p.m.

-- The Palmer Park and Riverside Park wading pools will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning Saturday, June 5 through Aug. 29. The pools are at 2400 Palmer Drive and 2000 Parkside Drive, respectively.

The wading pools are for children ages 8 and younger and have filtered water and various water features.

Admission is free but donations are accepted. Children must be supervised by an adult.

The JTS bus Wright Road route provides hourly departures from the Transfer Center at 15 minutes after the hour. The last pick-up at the wading pool will be at 5:20 p.m.

n Rockport Pool, 2801 Rockport Road, including the wading and diving pools, will be open from 12:30 to 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and from noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, beginning Saturday, June 12 to Aug. 22.

Rockport Pool is an Olympic-size pool, complete with diving well, wading pool, bath house, showers and a concession stand. Admission is $2.25 for adults, $1.75 for youth and seniors and free for ages 2 and younger.

The JTS West State Street route provides hourly service to Rockport Pool from Monday through Saturday starting at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, June 12 to Aug. 21. The last pick-up at Rockport Pool is at 6 p.m.

Last updated: 1:45 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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