Athletes compete as extreme heat hits the region

Athletes compete as extreme heat hits the region
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 5:31 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Near record-breaking heat is hitting our region to kick off the weekend with temperatures reaching the mid-90s.

Kanawha County Emergency Management Director CW Sigman said this is the hottest it has been in nearly two years, and people need to stay out of the sun and hydrate.

“We’re also concerned with all the activities,” Sigman said about weekend sports games and events. “There might be kids left in cars, dogs or some kind of pet left in a car. The heat is going to get pretty bad in the car. It will get extreme temperatures, so we want everyone to take precautions.”

Despite the boiling hot temperatures, the state track and field championships are continuing in Charleston. Athletes from across West Virginia are competing throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, but WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan said they have scheduled events to avoid the hottest part of the afternoon.

“They’re only out there for a short period of time, so they will just go back in the shade whenever they are out,” Dolan said. “It’s really the people in the stand that really have to pay attention because they’re sitting there for long periods of time.”

Jugs and cases of water are spread across Laidley Field for people to remain hydrated. There are also shaded spots and ice tubs for athletes, like Winnie Bird, to use before and after their races.

“It’s hot. It’s harder to stay cool and get warmed up without getting too hot because you don’t want to be sweating and gross before the race,” Bird said. “We have easier practices when it’s hot and when we are preparing for a big meet like this just to keep our bodies ready and not too tired.”

Many spectators brought umbrellas and pop-up tents to provide some shade in the stands. Other people relied on ice slushies and popsicles to go along with the bucket hats, cool towels and sunscreen.

“It’s not so bad,” George Grantham said about his tent. “There has been a breeze blowing most of the day, so we haven’t even had to turn on our fans here.”

“We’re just staying hydrated. That’s the thing to do,” Cathryn Osborn said. “I’ve got a spray bottle, so if I get too hot I will spray myself down.”

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