Jun 15, 2022 - News

Dangerous heat wave and power outages hit Central Ohio

Illustration of a thermometer shaped like an upwards arrow, with the mercury rising.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It's technically not summer yet, but its dog days are already here.

What's happening: A steaming, stagnant dome of heat and humidity that broke records out west has settled over the Central U.S. with Ohio on its cusp, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

  • Wednesday's high forecast of 97 degrees surpasses a Columbus-area record set in 1897, and Tuesday's high was 1 degree shy of a record.
  • The heat index, which accounts for humidity, could make it feel more like 110, per an excessive heat warning.

Why it matters: These temperatures are dangerous, especially for people with medical conditions or those without access to air conditioning.

Threat level: About 169,000 Columbus-area residents were without power as of Tuesday night, with restoration not expected until 11:59pm Thursday, according to AEP Ohio.

  • A high-wind storm impacted power lines early yesterday. As temperatures climbed into the 90s and air conditioners kicked on, power grids were strained, forcing the company to take some customers offline.

Of note: While potentially record-high temperatures are eye-catching, low temperatures that remain high during heat waves are actually more hazardous because they leave no time for a cool down, National Weather Service meteorologist James Gibson tells Axios.

  • Today's low forecast is 75. Our highest-ever low temperature for the area on this date was 73, in 1981.

What they're saying: "People need to watch out for each other and check on their neighbors, especially those who lose power," Gibson says.

Pro tips: If you must go outside, stay hydrated and wear loose clothing and sunscreen. If you experience signs of heat-related illnesses, seek help right away.

  • Columbus Recreation and Parks is operating five air-conditioned community centers and five pools on extended hours today and tomorrow. Here's the list.

What's next: Relief is expected this weekend, with highs in the high 70s and 80s following a Thursday thunderstorm.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: Today's newsletter was brought to you via a Starbucks news bureau, as my house lost power, though luckily only for a few hours.

  • Prepare now for a possible blackout — this heat is unfortunately here to stay for a little while.
A weather map of forecasted high temperatures in Ohio
​​NWS forecast for high temperatures today, with boxes indicating records. Photo courtesy of Weatherbell.com

Editor's note: This story was corrected to note power restoration from AEP Ohio is expected by 11:59pm on Thursday, not noon.

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