Heat wave hits Federal Way

Boy is it hot outside.

Today, July 11, is predicted to be the hottest day of the year so far in Federal Way. According to the National Weather Service, the mercury will reach 94 degrees and the skies will be clear.

That's a great thing for Federal Way folks who enjoy basking in the sun. It's a terrible thing for any ant in the vicinity of a child bearing a magnifying glass.

The local office of the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat watch bulletin to extend through Wednesday evening.

The bulletin advises that temperatures could approach the upper 90s — and it will be humid. Heat illnesses are a possibility.

"Check on your neighbors, especially if you know somebody who is elderly or very young," said Katherine Boury, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross in Seattle.

"There's a lot of concern because we don't have a lot of excessive heat around here," Boury said. "When it happens, I think sometimes people are not aware of what they should do."

Boury encourages people to stay indoors where there is air conditioning or fans, and drink plenty of water. She also advises people to avoid strenuous physical activity.

The excessive heat watch should be lifted on Wednesday evening.

Temperatures should begin cooling down on Thursday and reach a balmy 79 degrees on Friday. The weekend's temperatures are predicted to be in the upper 70s — a much safer time to enjoy the sunshine. Nowhere in the weeklong forecast is there any indication of rain.

Beat the heat

Lucky for the ants, Federal Way offers boundless opportunities for folks to enjoy the sunshine.

There's Celebration Park, where you can watch children spin around on toys until they get dizzy, cheer at a softball game, pet a stranger's puppy or relax in the shade and smell the freshly cut grass.

Or you could pull out the beach towels and head to Dash Point State Park to bask in the sun on a sandy beach. Or take a cool stroll down a tree-shaded path. You could have a picnic.

Then there's Steel Lake, where you could swim or fish or play Marco Polo. Or you could eat cotton candy and ride the wave pool at Wild Waves Theme Park. You could enjoy a margarita on the outdoor patio at Verrazano's Italian restaurant, Salty's or Red Robin.

For those who crave air-conditioned indoors, there's The Commons mall, the Gateway theater and two public libraries. At the grocery store, you could pause in the frozen foods aisle and enjoy the chilled air. You could eat ice cream.

Regardless how you choose to spend your sunny afternoon, stop for a moment and enjoy the little things. Feel the warm sun on your face. Pack your winter sweaters and scarves into the back of the closet. Stow the ice scraper in the trunk. Dust off the ice cooler. Play hooky at work. Smell the neighbors' barbecues and listen to the birds. Appreciate the power bill when it arrives much smaller than in December. Wear shorts.

Whatever you do, relax and take pleasure in all that is summer in Federal Way. Fall is only two months away.

Contact Margo Horner: or (253) 925-5565.

Very young children and elderly residents are at the greatest risk for heat-related illnesses. The Red Cross suggests the following precautions during hot weather:

Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and use a hat or umbrella outdoors.

Drink plenty of water or juice. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.

Eat small meals more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein.

Avoid strenuous activity during the warmest hours. The coolest part of the day is between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Stay indoors as much as possible.

Take frequent breaks when engaging in physical activity.

Watch for signs of heat stroke, which include hot, red and dry skin, changes in consciousness and a rapid or weak pulse.

Pets are also at risk of heat-related illnesses. Be sure dogs have plenty of water and access to shade.

For more information, visit

The Auburn Senior Activity Center will open as a cooling shelter for elderly citizens from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at 808 Ninth St. in Auburn.

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