By Joe Rossiter and Bill Laitner
Detroit Free Press Staff Writers
It wasn’t a record-breaker, but the first day of summer in southeast Michigan was still a scorcher as temperatures soared into the 90s for the second consecutive day.
Local water parks and pools were popular destinations for families seeking some relief from the heat.
“We’re unusually busy for a Wednesday, which is normally one of our slowest days of the week,” said Rhonda Petty, a supervisor at Rolling Hills Water Park in Ypsilanti Township. “Evidently, people are looking for an escape from the heat and humidity, and who can blame them on a day like today?”
By midafternoon, Petty estimated, more than 1,600 people were there enjoying some of the top attractions — like the lazy river and the wave pool.
Attendance at Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford and Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights was approaching capacity, according to a park supervisor.
“Naturally, the weather determines how busy we are, but we were caught a bit off-guard by the unusually hot weather this early,” said Matt Pardy, a recreation specialist at Red Oaks. “You expect this type of weather in July or August, but not in June.”
Another business trying to keep up with demand was U.S. Ice in Detroit, which sells ice products in bulk to gas stations, party stores, grocery stores and restaurants.
“I hate to say it, but I like to see the hot weather coming,” said company President Saad Abbo, 50. “I really feel for the people, but this is our busiest time of the year. It’s certainly not going to happen in January.”
The heat was taking a toll on people and pets, as cooling centers opened and animal welfare advocates warned of pets left unattended in the heat.
Animal welfare volunteer Mindy Richards said she found the bodies Tuesday of two pit bulls that had been chained in Inkster yards — apparent victims of the heat. Richards patrols Inkster as a full-time Inkster manager for the nonprofit Animal Care Network, based in Roseville.
That brings the death toll to eight dogs and cats who succumbed to apparent heat exposure in Inkster since late May, said Richards, 40.
Pam Porteous of West Bloomfield, a volunteer who patrols Pontiac, said she rescued two dogs — one chained and the other caged — in direct sunshine Wednesday without water.
“I finally was able to contact the relatives, and they didn’t want the animals,” Porteous said. She used bolt cutters to take the pit bulls to safety.
Tuesday’s high of 95 tied a record set in 1995. Wednesday’s high was 93. The record of 97 was set in 1953.
Today is expected to be partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the morning. The high is forecast to be around 88.
At her hometown Dairy Queen, Ashley Swisher, 19, of Charlotte helps chill Anneliesse Patterson, 2, of Bellevue with her shake. Anneliesse’s mom, Page Patterson, 21, watches as the girl sips her fill. Wednesday’s high was 93, but fell short of the record of 97, which was set in 1953. / KATHLEEN GALLIGAN/DETROIT FREE PRESS
Storm Stephenson, 9, of Southfield climbs the rock wall at the Civic Center’s pool. Water provided an escape from the heat for hundreds of people around metro Detroit. / JARRAD HENDERSON/DETROIT FREE PRESS
Savannah Young-Carrothers, 2, of Southfield and William Jackson, 13, of Detroit cool off in the kiddy pool at the Southfield Civic Center. / JARRAD HENDERSON/DETROIT FREE PRESS
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Contact Joe Rossiter: 313-222-6594 or firstname.lastname@example.org