Southeastern and Greenon local schools will be releasing school early for the second day in a row due to excessive heat.
The two districts were the only ones in Clark and Champaign counties to release students early on Monday due to high temperatures. Southeastern Superintendent David Shea said the decision to release early is a difficult one.
“Our buildings heat up right around one, that’s when it’s the hottest in the school. Mornings aren’t nearly as bad because it’s only in the 60s but around one it really starts to heat up,” Shea said.
Southeastern High School will release at 1 p.m. while the elementary will release at 1:10 p.m. All Greenon schools will also release two hours early.
The early school releases come as the Miami Valley experiences an unprecedented fall heat wave. The Miami Valley hasn’t seen a 90 degree day at the start of October in more than a century.
“It’s a little surprising that we are dealing with this issue in October. It’s not something we have really had to deal with before,” Shea said.
The heat wave, or three days in a row of 90-degree weather, began Friday and is expected to last through Wednesday before cold front comes through Thursday.
Saturday’s 91 degrees tied the 1905 record for the hottest on that date and other records could be reached on Tuesday and Wednesday if heat conditions persist, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Dontae Jones.
“Weather in general is cyclical. There are times that you can have these anomalies that happen,” Jones said. “If this were to happen for the last 10 years around this time, sure there may be something going on. This is the first time we’ve seen this in a long time.”
The last time there was a 90 degree day in October was 1900. There have been 10 days in October that reached 90 degrees before this year, and all stretched between 1897 and 1900, according to National Weather Service data.
The heat this late in the season is compounding with months-long drought to cause some trees to drop leaves early and others to delay the turn to fall colors, said Tyler Stevenson, a forester with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Usually leaves would begin turning and falling in mid-October, but many trees won’t turn until late October or November.
“Mild drought is good for the bright reds and purples, but when you get to much more of a lack of rain, it definitely affects those colors not being as bright,” Stevenson said. “Those reds won’t pop as much if the drought continues.”
The colors will specifically be impacted in urban areas with landscape trees and trees on the edge of forests that get more sun and have compacted soil and foot traffic or parking beneath them. Those trees have bigger issues gathering water during drought conditions more than untouched soil in forests that is more like a sponge, he said.
“You’ll find fall color this year. You’re just going to have to go look for it,” Stevenson said.
Trees, and residents, could get some relief from the heat Thursday when a cold front flows into the area, dropping the high to 69 by Friday, bringing what Jones said he expected the end to 90-degree days for 2019. However, light showers won’t make up for the drought’s six to eight inch precipitation deficit.
The start of October is expected to approach several records, including in 1897, a year that also faced severe drought conditions in September. The Oct. 1 record reached 93 degrees that year, which Tuesday’s 92-degree forecast could contend with. Wednesday’s 90-degree forecast could tie the record for that day set in 1900.
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