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By Michael Boyd Jr.
Ste. Genevieve herald
The rainstorms over the weekend finally gave everyone in the region a much-needed break from the 90-plus degree temperatures last week.
The heat reached over 100 degrees here at some points of the week, but even when the temperatures were in the low 90s, the heat index was well into the 100s.
The national heat wave declared by the National Weather Service earlier over the summer coincided with the first days of school around the county.
Ste. Genevieve R-II School District’s opening day of the new school year was hot both outside and inside for parts of the Ste. Genevieve campus as the air conditioning system broke down for the day.
While students were hot at first, the R-II acted quickly to make the classrooms comfortable.
A few students mentioned that they were freezing once temporary a/c units were installed, which is why some students were seen wearing hoodies.
Can’t win for losing sometimes.
“Extreme temperatures have affected districts throughout the Midwest, and these hot and humid days impact HVAC systems that can then struggle to keep up,” said Bailey Otto, R-II communications director. “Our maintenance department has been amazing, devoting time this week to working on and bolstering air conditioning in areas that have seen too much stress on those systems.
“In a few areas, our crews installed window units, as well as fans in order to circulate cooler air from other units. In addition, our crews have kept the air on overnight to not only allow the HVAC systems to maintain cooler areas throughout the day, but also to keep from stressing those systems further by restarting them each morning.”
The heat wave not only troubled the Midwest but the southwest as well. Las Vegas and Phoenix both reached 120 degrees earlier this year, and even the northwest and northeast are struggling with high temperatures, all according to media reports.
Area schools moved times of their season-opening varsity football games this past Friday to 8 p.m. from its usual 7 p.m. schedule.
Several programs reported in postgame interviews that players suffered from leg cramps during their respective games despite the time change.
Valle had played at Seckman and Ste. Genevieve was at Festus. The athletic directors at all four schools agreed to the time change, as did others, with the Missouri High School Activities Association’s full approval.
Both games finished well after 11 p.m. in the process, and a few others finished at midnight. Some games were moved to Saturday morning as well.
Youth ball clubs in the area either canceled practices or moved it indoors throughout the week to avoid struggles with the heat.
The Ste. Genevieve County Youth Football League, better known as the Impact, canceled practices last Tuesday, then held practices inside the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center’s Sports Complex on Thursday.
MSHSAA does not govern youth sports, but the Impact play by MSHSAA’s guidelines and that includes following MSHSAA’s rules when the weather is too hot to be outdoors.
The Impact later played their jamboree at Windsor High Saturday morning anticipating more serious heat by midday, but a surprise cold front moved in across the region, thus surprising everyone.
Turns out many at the jamboree were talking about the suddenly cooler weather every bit as much as they were talking about football.
In the end, a thunderstorm, and not the heat, is what would cancel the latter half of their jamboree action. Although everybody got drenched, the storm provided much welcomed relief from the heat.
While the weather will cool off for this week, the heat is expected to return to 100-plus degrees again by Wednesday next week.
SENIORS TAKE CARE
Senior citizens and others with health issues are also at an elevated danger during extreme heat.
Tina Winch, director of the Ste. Genevieve County Nutrition Center, said none of the elderly who visit the center have mentioned any issues with the heat that she is aware of.
Activities and visitors had slowed because of the heat as people are trying to stay indoors as much as possible.
“Others hang out here a little longer when they do stop by,” Winch said. “Everyone seems to be OK and enjoy visiting their friends. This is a safe haven for them. We are a place where if they don’t have fans or a/c’s they can call and we try to find means for them.”
Winch added that when the center delivers the meals, they checks in on people and make sure everybody is doing OK.
“We don’t ever have anybody who is in such a need because this is a small town community with lots of family and everyone knows each other. Family connections.”
Winch said the nutrition center is open to the public regardless of age if anyone needs to get out of the heat or even cold during winter months.
She added that anyone struggling with the heat to stay hydrated, take a cool shower, go to the store, go to the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center. There are so many options, she stated.
“Not only our senior citizens, but also remember our farmers and construction workers are working in this heat also,” Winch said. “Others who might be working in this heat, just look out for them as well.”