Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 16, 2013

Grand Traverse region feels the heat

BY MICHAEL WALTON mwalton@record-eagle.com and MATT TROUTMAN mtroutman@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — High temperatures are a relative concept during summer’s dog days.

Just ask James Breithaupt. The Traverse City native moved to Qatar -— as in Middle East Qatar — about six months ago and was back in town to visit family during this week’s heat wave.

“This ain’t hot,” Breithaupt said as he sat in a lawn chair on West End Beach. “It was 126 degrees when I left last Thursday. I’m not even sweating.”

James’ brother John Breithaupt disagreed from his own bayside lawn chair.

“If I’m not here, I’m sitting in my air conditioning,” he said. “I can’t stand it.”

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory on Tuesday that extends through this evening for areas around and south of the M-72 corridor, including the Grand Traverse area. Forecasters predicted heat indices could reach 100 degrees in some places.

“The humidity will slowly increase so the heat index — what it feels like — will be up into the mid- to upper-90s,” said Justin Arnott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

Meteorologists cautioned people to limit strenuous activity outdoors during the heat advisory, but that’s not an option for folks like U.S. Postal Service letter carrier Eric Homminga.

Homminga walks about five miles a day while delivering mail in downtown Traverse City and surrounding neighborhoods.

He prefers delivering in the dead of winter compared to summer scorchers.

“I can always add clothes,” he said. “You can’t take skin off.”

Tuesday’s heat was far from the worst Homminga has seen since he started delivering mail in Traverse City in 2006, but he took extra precautions by drinking plenty of water and resting often in shady places.

Other Traverse City residents embraced the 90-plus temperatures at West End Beach.

“It’s perfect,” said Allison Locke, who visited the beach with her friend Alicia Igo. “The water feels really good when it gets this hot.”

Igo said hot weather prompts her to get outside and revel in Traverse City. Locke agreed.

“We kind of feel spoiled,” Locke said.

Jennifer Giurlanda doesn’t love the high temperatures, but she said the hot weather provides an incentive to get out and enjoy Grand Traverse Bay.

“We got floaties; we’re going to go get some Subway and camp out out all day and night,” Giurlanda said. “We’re going to watch the stars come up.”

Forecasters said chances of showers and thunderstorms will increase through Thursday with temperatures expected to dip substantially into the weekend when a cold front moves in.

Highs will “struggle” to reach above 75 degrees on Saturday before temperatures return to the mid-80s next week, Arnott said.