Two people have died in Franklin County this summer after becoming dehydrated doing yard work in the heat of the sun.
Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel on Tuesday issued a reminder to people to use caution, as an extended period of triple-digit temperatures are forecast for the Tri-City region.
In one case during the second week of July, a 96-year-old man in Pasco died as he was taking out river rock in his yard and putting down cloth to prevent weeds, Blasdel said.
In a second case the same week, a 67-year-old man was mowing and whacking weeds at a house in Connell.
A worker across the street saw him at 10 a.m. and he looked fine, but a couple hours later the worker returned from lunch to find him dead.
In both cases, no drinking water were found near the men, Blasdel said.
Both died on days when the temperature was in the 90s — cooler than what the Tri-Cities is being hit with this week.
Temperatures already in the triple digits are climbing to what may be the hottest day of the year in the Tri-Cities, a likely 107 on Friday.
The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the Tri-Cities and surrounding area from noon Wednesday to 8 p.m. Friday.
The high at the Pasco airport Wednesday is expected to be 104, climbing to 106 degrees Thursday.
104 degrees Wednesday forecast
106 degrees Thursday forecast
107 degrees Friday forecast
Little cooling is expected after Friday. The high should be 103 to 104 degrees Saturday through Monday.
The Tri-Cities has already had one stretch this summer that was almost as hot. On July 7, the high at the Pasco airport was 106 degrees, ending a three-day stretch with temperatures in the triple digits, according to the weather service.
The Tri-Cities will not get much relief at night during the present heat wave, according to the weather service.
Thursday night the low is expected to drop to just 69 and Friday to just 67.
Normal highs for August in the Tri-Cities are about 89, and normal lows are about 60, according to the weather service.
It predicts that the month ahead will be hotter and drier than usual for August in the Tri-Cities.
The entire state is expected to have much hotter than usual weather this week.
Call 911 immediately for heat-related symptoms that include extremely high body temperature, rapid and weak pulse, confusion, vomiting and seizures.
The west side of the state will not get as hot as the east side. The highest temperature forecast for Seattle is 98 on Thursday.
But with fewer air conditioned buildings there, the weather service has issued an excessive heat warning rather than the heat advisory issued for the Mid-Columbia.
Agencies are urging caution across the state.
Never leave a child in a car while running errands, Blasdel said.
People who are elderly or ill, children and babies are particularly susceptible to heat-related medical problems, said the Red Cross. “Look out for your neighbors,” it says.
If you need somewhere cool to go, try libraries, movie theaters or stores, such as those at Columbia Center mall.
Those working outside should plan to start early and avoid strenuous activity as the day heats up. Avoid caffeine, which can make the body lose water and large meals before working outside.
The first sign of heat-related illnesses may be heat cramps — muscle pains or spasms in the legs or abdomen, according to the Red Cross.
Heat exhaustion is more severe.
Symptoms can include cool or moist skin, headache, dizziness, nausea and weakness.
A person with heat exhaustion should be moved to a cool place and have cool, wet towels draped on their skin. Water or sports drinks can restore fluids and electrolytes.
Pets suffer in the heat, too. Limit exercise, keep them cool and remember that dogs with short muzzles, like boxers and pugs, will have trouble breathing in extreme heat.
Heat exhaustion may advance to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition and 911 should be called immediately.
Symptoms include very high body temperature, red skin, a rapid and weak pulse and confusion. Other signs that warrant a 911 call include vomiting related to heat exhaustion or heat stroke or refusing water.
The Red Cross Emergency App offers a Heat Wave Safety Checklist with medical advice. Download it at the Apple Store or Google Play.
Pets will need special attention, too.
The Humane Society recommends limiting exercise on the coolest parts of the days. Asphalt may be hot enough to hurt paws.
Fans are not particularly good for cooling off pets, it says. Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.
Pets also are susceptible to heat stroke. Watch for heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat and profuse salivation.
If you plan a camping or day trip out of town, be prepared for tighter fire restrictions, including in state parks.
At Palouse Falls State Park no open flame of any type is allowed, and that includes smoking cigarettes.
At Lyons Ferry and Sacajawea state parks, no charcoal or wood fires are allowed but self-contained camping stoves may be used.
107 new record for July 7
July was hotter than usual in the Tri-Cities and at Hanford, according to data for the month released Tuesday.
One daily temperature record was set at the Hanford Meterological Station, which keeps data back to 1944.
The high of 107 at the station on July 7 beat the previous record of 105 set in 1968.
The National Weather Service said temperatures in Kennewick averaged 3.5 degrees above normal and highs averaged 4.2 degrees above normal.
No precipitation was measured in the Tri-Cities in July.
But precipitation remains above normal for the year. In Kennewick precipitation since October, the start of the water year, has totaled 10.48 inches, which is 3.23 inches above normal.
The peak wind gust for the month, as measured in Kennewick, was 50 mph on July 11. At the Hanford met station, it was 42 mph on July 9.