Hottest day ever

Published 9:43 am Friday, July 9, 2010

FRANKLIN—It appears the Western Tidewater region experienced its hottest day ever Wednesday when the temperature hit 106.

According to records dating back to the late 1940s by the website, the previous all-time high for Franklin was 105 set on June 27, 1952.

In addition, a search on the Internet of National Weather Service stations throughout the United States showed only one location that was hotter than Franklin on Wednesday — Phoenix, which hit 107 degrees.

“I was burnt up and I usually do heat pretty good,” said Franklin Parks and Recreation Director Frank Davis, who took nearly 100 kids to Petersburg on school buses without air conditioning for an annual fun day.

“Believe it or not, we played kickball and had tug-of-war,” Davis said.

Afternoon plans to play softball and football were exchanged for playing basketball in the air-conditioned gym at Petersburg High School.

“After being out there, it felt like being in a refrigerator,” Davis said.

The youth had an early lunch in the shade and were given plenty of water.

“We tried to keep cool,” he said. “It was hot.”

Wednesday was the second day in a row for record-breaking heat. The previous record of 101 for that date was set on July 7, 1999. On Tuesday, the high was 103, breaking a record of 100 for that date set in on July 6, 1999.

Wednesday was the fourth time record heat has been set in Franklin within the last 14 days. On June 24, Franklin a hit a record-high 102 degrees for that date, shattering the previous record of 96 set in 1956. On June 22, a high of 98 eclipsed the previous mark of 95 set in 1949.

At Bear Path Acres Animal Education Center 9 miles south of Franklin in Southampton County, Wednesday was spent keeping humans and animals cool.

“We were using a lot of water hoses, a lot of sprinklers and putting up extra shade clothes and tarps,” said Debbie Jeter, president and founder.

There was one casualty from the heat.

“An Eastern Box Turtle of all things,” Jeter said. “They’re native to the heat.”

The turtle died while en route to the Blackwater Regional Library branch in Windsor for a program.

“He got overheated during the drive from here to Windsor on Tuesday,” she said.

A hose was used to keep the facility’s black leopard cool, and the emus, birds of prey and foxes were given extra showers.

“The native wildlife seemed to be taking it pretty good,” Jeter said.

Butch Turner, athletic specialist for Franklin Parks and Recreation, has rescheduled youth baseball games three times due to the heat.

“We don’t want to put the kids at risk or the adults,” Turner said. “The adults can deal with the heat better than the kids can. We were concerned about their health.”