Heat record falls at Water Follies begins in Tri-Cities, WA
Crowds on the first day of the Water Follies weekend on Friday were light as the Tri-Cities were sweltered by heat that set a new daily record for the second day in a row.
One person was treated for heat exhaustion Friday in first aid tents run by Lourdes Health and Trios Health along the Columbia River, and doctors on call at the event treated eight others.
Kennewick Police said on social media that the heat was keeping Kennewick Fire Department first responders busy, but they still encouraged people to get out to the park and enjoy the event.
If you come, “plan to bring shade and hydration,” police said.
Driver Austin Eacret, who races the GP-12 for Schellhase Racing, knows what it’s like to spend several days in the heat.
He said attendees can take advantage of aid stations, tents and cooling stations.
“Lots of water, lots of water and stay in the shade,” he said. “I used the cool vests, the cool scarves, found all the misters I could, trying to stay off the sidewalk.”
Tri-Cities Heat Records
The Tri-Cities have been under an excessive heat warning since Monday, which will continue through at least Sunday.
While Pasco set a new heat record for the Tri-Cities on Friday, the National Weather Service in Pendleton also reported new records in Yakima, Walla Walla and Ellensburg in Washington and Hermiston and Pendleton in Oregon.
In the Tri-Cities, the previous July 29 record was 107 set in 2014, well below the new record of 112 set Friday.
A new record was also set on Thursday. The July 28 record now stands at 110, one degree above the record high temperature set for the date set in 1934.
More daily records could fall or at least be tied before this heat wave ends, with Sunday being the most likely to be a record.
The National Weather Service forecast a high of 108 on Saturday, 110 on Sunday and 104 on Monday.
The Weather Channel predicts even warmer temperatures, with highs of 111 on Saturday, 112 on Sunday and 103 on Monday.
The heat records for these days are 111 set in 2020 for July 30, which is Saturday this year; 109 fixed in 2020 for July 31, Sunday of this year; and 109 set in 2009 for August 1, Monday of this year.
The heat wave was not as hot as the one that broke records at the end of June a year ago. But it’s been longer.
June 2021 ended with temperatures over 100 – ranging from 110 to 115 – for five days in a row.
The current heat wave started with a temperature of 100 on Sunday and at least nine days of triple-digit highs are expected before temperatures cool down a bit on Tuesday.
The must-see Water Follies
If you go to Water Follies, Lourdes Health and Trios Health recommend lots of sunscreen, plenty of water, and limited beer, as it can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.
They provide basic first aid on the Kennewick and Pasco sides of the Columbia River at Water Follies.
Traditionally, first aid stations have a hose to cool people on demand, and ambulances are ready to take anyone seriously overheated to hospital.
Medical volunteer and registered nurse Ashleigh Tiedemann said it’s crucial to stay hydrated when exposing yourself to prolonged high temperatures.
“Definitely electrolytes, water and sunscreen. Those are the three main things to stay safe,” she said. “We’ve seen a lot of heat exhaustion already.”
She said she understood people were going to drink, but they could still stay safe while doing so. She recommends alternating between water and electrolytes between alcoholic beverages.
“Actually, if you want to double the beers, just make sure you double the pound with ice water in one hand,” she said. “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate because obviously alcohol dehydrates you quickly. So staying hydrated while drinking is a very good idea.
Tiedemann said it’s also a good idea to bring neck coolers, as those will be the first things medical volunteers apply to someone with heat exhaustion.
Eacret said despite the heat, his crew is having a great time. He likes his chances in competition this weekend. He’s coming off a third-place finish at Alabama, a second-place finish at Madison, Ind., and a second-place finish in his first run.
For drivers, it is especially important to stay cool, in order to stay sharp.
“It’s a bit bumpy out there, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “You can be standing here on the shore and watching the boats go by and they might seem buoyant and not very choppy, but you get beat up pretty well on the inside when you’re going 150 mph before a turn.”
Heat moves concerts indoors
The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers have announced that they are moving their Summer Pop Concert Sunday inside the Uptown Theater in Richland due to the heat. The concerts are scheduled at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Tickets are $10 with free admission for students from kindergarten through high school. They can be purchased online at mcmastersingers.org.
This story was originally published July 30, 2022 12:18 p.m.