St. George's residents battle extreme heat

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ST. GEORGE — When it starts getting hot outside, there is one spot in St. George many people start going to.

But when that hot was near record-breaking on Thursday, it was enough for Esmeralda Carter to drive a half hour from New Harmony just to bring her 3-year-old granddaughter to the downtown splash pad and water fountains.

"This is our go-to place," Carter said.

However, she is here a lot earlier than in years past.

"It is just a freak heat storm. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I don't know. It is supposed to be pretty hot," Carter said with a laugh.

Many people who live in southern Utah will tell you they get used to extreme heat.

"You do. You just full embrace it," said Stacey McAffee, who visited the splash pad with her family. "I love the heat."

Those triple-digit temperatures, though, usually show up in July and August. Not now.

"For the first week of June, we are all kind of like, agh!" said McAffee with the kind of look on her face that says it's hot outside.

The early heat is also why doctors here are a little worried.

"We went from the mid-80s to now 110-ish today pretty quickly," Dr. Richard Sorensen said.

Sorensen works in the emergency room at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital and often sees patients with heat-related issues.

"It is at least a few times a week during the summertime, if not more," he said.

Since it feels like summer right now, Sorensen is advising people to drink more water, wear sunscreen and avoid going outside in the middle of the day. If you go outside to hike, bike or walk, make sure to take breaks, especially if you are not used to this heat.

"We want people to come to southern Utah and enjoy it," Sorensen said. "It is beautiful. But you do have to protect against the heat like this."

That is exactly why the splash pad and water fountain are such a popular place in St. George when it is hot.

For Carter, it is well worth the drive to get her granddaughter playing outside and still stay cool.

"I wish this was in my backyard," she said with a smile.

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Alex Cabrero
Alex Cabrero is an Emmy award-winning journalist and reporter for KSL-TV since 2004. He covers various topics and events but particularly enjoys sharing stories that show what's good in the world.


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