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Temperature in State College Could Top 95 by Thursday

by on July 19, 2011 2:26 PM

It isn't the heat, we have been so often told, it's the humidity.

State College is about to get hit by both.

The air mass that has hovered over Texas and the Great Plains the past couple of weeks, leaving those regions dry and parched, is expanding northward and eastward, and it's headed this way.

"We were starting to feel it yesterday, but we got a little break from the clouds," senior meteorologist Tom Kines told on Tuesday. "But barring some unforeseen cloud activity, we're going to see temperatures definitely in the 90s Thursday, Friday and probably Saturday."

The last time temperatures topped 95 degrees in State College was during the summer of 1988, Kines said: "We've definitely got a shot at that this week."

And that's not all.

"The humidity is unusually high. That's what is making it so unbearable," Kines explained. "In Minneapolis and Des Moines yesterday, the temperature felt like it was 115."

Or, as senior meteorologist Bernie Rayno said in a story posted under the headline "Heat Wave Morphing US into an Enormous Sauna" on the agency's website: "It's like getting slapped in the face with a wet sponge when you walk outside."

The best recommendation might be to stay inside, especially if you have access to air conditioning. West Penn Power spokesman Doug Colafella said that, while the demand for electricity will definitely increase, and the 13-state electrical-grid monitoring group PJM Interconnection may issue an alert later this week, the supply should be sufficient in the State College area.

One reason may be the economy.

"We continue to be in a recession, and the industrial output is really down," Colafella said. "If the economy were humming along like it was three or four years ago, the demand would be even greater and we might be seeing some grid problems later this week."

Despite the less-than-robust economy, people are working – and many of them in non-conditioned air.

"People outside – construction workers, painters – it can really affect them," Kines said of the approaching heat wave. "The No. 1 key is to keep your body hydrated with water."

Kines also recommended wearing loose-fitting and light-colored clothing – light colors reflect more sunlight — and a hat, particularly one with a wide brim.

Severe heat disproportionately affects the elderly. The Centre County Office of Aging received the following recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, encouraging agency clients and staff members to minimize the dangers from excessive heat by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Wearing light-weight and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Staying in an air-conditioned setting.
  • Minimizing time spent outdoors and staying out of the sun whenever possible.
  • Checking on relatives and neighbors who may be susceptible to heat-related conditions.
  • Maintaining an awareness of the indicators of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If any of these signs and symptoms becomes apparent, move to a cool and shaded area and seek the necessary medical treatment.
  • Ensuring that pets have access to shaded and well-ventilated areas with sufficient amounts of water.

Kines said a cool front from the north should bring some relief by the weekend's close. But until then, do what you can to stay out of the heat.

And the humidity.

Up-to-the-minute weather information is available on's weather page.

Rich Kerstetter is managing editor of Follow him on Twitter at or get news updates via Facebook at Rich can be reached at [email protected] or at (814) 238-6201 Ext. 135.
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