News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 19, 2013

Wabash Valley is burning hot: ‘Typical’ summer weather has residents looking to cool off

Dianne Frances D. Powell
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Can you feel the heat? Wabash Valley residents certainly can.

Sweating profusely, Robert Brown drank from the fountain inside the Vigo County Public Library as he sought refuge Thursday from the extreme summer heat.

The National Weather Service reported Thursday’s temperatures as high as 93 degrees with heat index readings — that is, how hot it feels — peaking at 101.

“It’s hot,” Brown said, describing the weather in Terre Haute.

With no transportation, the 62-year-old said he walked around town Thursday doing errands before coming to the library.

Brown said he had been out in the heat “too long.”

With high temperatures, being out in the heat too long is not a good idea.

Dr. Scott Pottratz, an emergency room doctor at Terre Haute Regional Hospital, said he has seen an increase of heat-related visits to the ER this week.

“In general, it’s somebody who has been outside working for a period of time (an hour or two),” he said describing some of the heat-related incidents.

“They feel weak, dizzy, nauseous, sick to their stomach,” he said.

Pottratz said these patients usually get medication for their nausea and get fluids through the IV for hydration.

He said he saw “a few [patients] during the [Vigo County] Fair [last week]. It got worse this week because it is hotter.”

Although the Wabash Valley has seen plenty of rain this summer, the area has seen temperatures above 90s since Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

And today promises to be another hot day.

In the counties of Vigo, Vermillion, Parke, Clay, Sullivan and Greene, temperatures will rise to the mid-90s with heat index readings ranging from 98 to 104.

But relief  is on its way.

Crystal Pettet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, said that they do not see Terre Haute getting above 90 degrees from Saturday through Thursday next week.

The same is also true for the rest of the area.

Starting tonight and through the weekend, showers and thunderstorms are likely in the Wabash Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

Thunderstorms are particularly likely at the end of today and throughout Saturday, Pettet said.

“It’s typical summer weather,” she said.

But last year at this time was not typical.

Most Wabash Valley residents may remember last year’s drought that brought record breaking temperatures at 106.

“It [is] cooler than it was last year,” Pettet said. For example, Wednesday’s high was 94, but on that same date last year, the temperature reached as high as 101.

“Last year was significant, record-breaking,” she said, because the area experienced a string of 100-degree weather for a few days in a row.

“This year is pretty normal,” she said.

Normal, perhaps, but with today promising to be another hot day, the National Weather Service advises people to stay stay hydrated, reschedule strenuous outdoor activities for another day and seek places with air conditioning, just like Brown did.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or