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The heat is on: Butler to face prolonged heat wave

Butler County and the rest of Western Pennsylvania will really start to feel the heat starting on Monday, June 17, as the region faces a potentially record-setting stretch of high temperatures in the coming week.

Starting on Monday, Butler County is under an excessive heat watch from the National Weather Service which is in effect until Friday, June 21, at 8 p.m. According to forecasts from the weather service, high temperatures are predicted to reach 93 degrees on Monday and not fall below 90 for more than a week, possibly reaching as high as 97 degrees on Thursday.

The heat wave could last as long as Monday, June 24, when the temperature is expected to reach 95 degrees. That would mean a whole week — at least — of 90-degree heat.

During this time, the heat index — a measure of what the temperature feels like to the human body — will approach or possibly surpass 100 degrees at its highest point, although no heat index forecasts were available beyond Friday, June 21.

Meteorologist Colton Milcarec of the National Weather Service said not to expect much relief from the heat even during the night.

“Our low temperatures aren’t going to drop much below 70, if at all,” Milcarec said. “There’s going to be little relief at night.”

Throughout the week, temperatures will approach or possibly exceed area record highs. Thursday’s forecast of 97 would break the standing June 20 record of 95 degrees set during the Pittsburgh heat wave of 1994.

With several days of 90-degree heat expected, the region’s electric operators are preparing for a massive strain on the grid. West Penn Power, which services 86,375 customers in Butler County, said it is prepared to handle the anticipated increase in demand.

“FirstEnergy Corp.’s distribution and transmission system is prepared to meet the anticipated increase in customer electricity usage associated with summer’s first heat wave,” wrote Jessica Koly, digital communications supervisor for FirstEnergy, West Penn Power’s parent company.

A news release from West Penn Power advised customers to set their air conditioners as high as is comfortable, seal any leaks in their homes, and check their air conditioner filters.

For those who can’t stay inside all day or night during the coming heat wave, or for those without access to air conditioning, Milcarec offers the following ways to stay cool.

“Make sure to stay plenty hydrated and constantly check out for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke,” Milcarec said. “And then seek treatment if you’re seeing any of those symptoms.”

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