Locals seek relief from the heat

MARYSVILLE — With temperatures over the July 25-26 weekend reaching the upper 80s and the forecast predicting upper 80s and low 90s through the rest of the week, north county residents sought relief of all kinds.

By the afternoon of July 26, the Marysville K-Mart had sold out of swimming pools. Only one gazebo remained in the store, waiting for a customer to come in and pack up the display model.

“The pools, they were a gangbuster. We sold out of them when we had the first heat wave,” said Kitty Trunkhill, the softline area sales coach. She added that merchandising had gone into the warehouse and brought in extra pools from other stores. “Today, we sold our last one again.”

The heat drives sales, according to Trunkhill, who observed customers coming in for fans, air conditioners, patio furniture — anything weather-related.

A native of the western Washington area, Trunkhill said she prefers the hot weather. She had returned recently from a vacation to Mexico and planned to enjoy the heat when not working in the cool of her air-conditioned workplace.

The Marysville Fire District cautions citizens to stay hydrated and stay out of the sun when temperatures rise.

They suggest steering clear of alcoholic beverages, which can cause dehydration, but drinking plenty of fluids even before becoming thirsty. They also recommend wearing a hat and loose-fitting clothing to stay cool.

“We suggest loose clothing. If you have any activities to do outside, do them in the morning instead of waiting until the afternoon. Get some of that more physical work done in the morning,” said Kristen Thorstenson, Marysville Fire District public education specialist. “Drink lots and lots of water, you can’t drink too much water, really.”

Locals without air conditioning or simply with a hankering to enjoy the warm weather took advantage of a variety of local resources.

Jessica Costigan, the assistant manager of the Regal Cinema in Marysville, said she noticed an uptick in ticket sales over the weekend as people enjoyed a few hours of cinematic escapism and the theater’s central air conditioning.

“I heard it’s supposed to get up to 90 degrees,” Costigan said July 26 during the matinee shows. “We had a huge rush not long ago.”

Still others lathered on the sunblock and headed for the nearest lake or river. Swimmers and sunbathers alike speckled the shore of the Stillaguamish River, some hiking out behind Twin Rivers Park to the rocky beach along a shallow spread of the river. Others jumped in at Haller Park where the water quickly drops off. Even more families packed a picnic and beach towels and headed out to Twin Lakes near Lakewood Crossing.

Amber and John Fischer brought their sons Ayden, 3, and Teegon, 2, to the lake to splash around in their lifejackets.

“We’ve been coming up here for months. Me and Ayden (swam) all the way to the other side of the lake,” said John, from the beach on the west beach of the south lake, indicating across the length of the lake.

The temperatures take their toll on animal companions as well. Dr. Nicholas Nelson of the Veterinary Specialty Center, said that dogs are particularly at risk to heat-related health concerns.

“When it’s hot like this, pets can become dehydrated just like you and I can. It’s important to make sure that there’s plenty of water available,” he said. “The only way dogs can remove heat is by panting, so they can overheat pretty quickly. When they become overheated and the temperature rises over 105 degrees, they can be vulnerable to heatstroke.”

Breeds such as pugs, Boston terriers and bulldogs can be particularly vulnerable to the heat. With long tongues and narrow airways, excessive panting can cause inflammation and distress in such dogs, Nelson said.

“They’re prone to overheating, they’re prone to dehydration. We need to take the same precations we would take with family members

The Snohomish County Public Utility District offered tips for customers interested in staying cool and saving on energy during the heat wave. For customers without air conditioning, they advised closing the blinds and curtains during the day to keep out sun rays. When cooking, smaller appliances like the crock pot, toaster oven and microwave use less energy and give off less heat than stove tops or ovens. Long-term tips include planting shade trees on the south side of a home.

For customers with air conditioners, the PUD recommends turning the thermostat up to 78 degrees when home and 84 degrees when away. Cleaning and replacing air filters will help save energy costs as the air conditioner runs more efficiently.

Costigan, the assistant manager at Regal Cinemas, surmised that the heat just slows people down a little.

“We actually started kind of slow in the summer — people went swimming,” she said. “But now, people want something relaxing and to just sit in air conditioning.”

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