Crowds at the first day of Water Follies weekend on Friday were light, as the Tri-Cities sweltered in heat that set a new daily record for the second day in a row.
One person was treated for heat exhaustion Friday at first aid tents run by Lourdes Health and Trios Health along the Columbia River, and on-call medics at the event treated eight more.
Kennewick police said on social media that the heat was keeping Kennewick Fire Department first responders busy, but they still encouraged people to come out to the park and enjoy the event.
If you come, “plan on bringing shade and hydration,” police said.
Driver Austin Eacret, who is racing 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’ve been using the cool vests, the cool scarfs, finding all the misters I can, trying to stay off the pavement.”
Tri-Cities heat records
The Tri-Cities has been under an excessive heat warning since Monday, which will continue through at least Sunday.
As 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 record for July 29 was 107 set in 2014, well below the new 112 record set on Friday.
A new record also was set on Thursday. The record for July 28 is now 110, a single degree over the past record temperature for the date set in 1934.
More daily records could fall or at least be tied before this heat wave ends, with Sunday most likely to be a record breaker.
The National Weather Service forecast a high of 108 on Saturday, 110 on Sunday and 104 on Monday.
The Weather Channel predicts even hotter temperatures, with a high of 111 on Saturday, 112 on Sunday and 103 on Monday.
Heat records for those days are 111 set in 2020 for July 30, which is Saturday this year; 109 set in 2020 for July 31, Sunday this year; and 109 set in 2009 for Aug. 1, Monday this year.
The heat wave has not been quite as hot as the one that broke records for late June a year ago. But it has been longer.
June 2021 ended with temperatures topping 100 — ranging 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 forecast before temperatures are expected to cool some on Tuesday.
Water Follies must haves
If your going to Water Follies, Lourdes Health and Trios Health recommend plenty of sunscreen, lots of water and limiting beer because it can impair the body’s ability to self-regulate its temperature.
They are are providing with basic first aid on both the Kennewick and Pasco sides of the Columbia River at Water Follies.
Traditionally the first aid stations have had a hose to cool off people on request, and ambulances are ready to take any seriously overheated people to a 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 understands that people are going to drink, but said they can still stay safe while doing so. She recommends alternating between water and electrolytes between alcoholic beverages.
“Realistically, if you want to double pound beers, just make sure to double pound with ice water in one hand,” she said. “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate because, obviously, alcohol dehydrates you quickly. So keeping hydrated while drinking is a really good idea.”
Tiedemann said it’s also a good idea to bring neck coolers, because those are going to be the first thing medical volunteers apply to someone suffering from heat exhaustion.
Eacret said despite the heat, his crew is having a great time. He likes his odds in competition this weekend. He’s coming off of a third-place finish in Alabama, a second-place finish in Madison, Ind., and a second-place run in his first heat.
For drivers, it’s especially important to stay cool, in order to stay sharp.
“It’s a little bumpy out there, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “You might be standing here on shore and watching the boats go and it might look like they’re floaty and not very rough, but you’re getting beat up pretty good inside there when you’re traveling 150 mph going into a turn.”
Heat moves concerts indoors
The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers announced that it is moving its Summer Pop Concert Sunday indoors to The Uptown Theatre in Richland due to the heat. Concerts are scheduled at 3 and 6 p.m.
Tickets cost $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 PM.