For thousands of Akron-area youngsters, school was out Tuesday and will be again on Wednesday for the summer (heat).

Although it is September and technically the meteorological fall, the thermometer looks more like July with temperatures topping 90 and the so-called real feel temperature edging toward 100 degrees.

It was warm enough for many schools — including seven in the Akron Public Schools district and Archbishop Hoban High School — to close for the day.

The culprit was a lack of air conditioning in numerous schools, prompting superintendents to extend the Labor Day weekend holiday.

And there’s no relief in sight on Wednesday.

Weather forecasters warn it will again be dangerously warm with temperatures in or around 90 and the real-feel temperatures at 100.

By Tuesday afternoon, Cuyahoga Falls had already called off classes for Wednesday based on the predicted continued heat wave. Akron’s seven schools also will remain closed.

Dr. Tim Lee, director of Akron Children’s Hospital’s main campus emergency department, said there has been a significant increase in recent days of children coming into the ER 7for asthma attacks.

About 15 children came to the hospital’s emergency department Monday with asthma attacks, representing about 10 percent of all ER visits for the day. Lee said the rise in asthma problems likely is related to the high humidity and poor air quality index.

Cooling centers open

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said the city opened four of its community centers on Tuesday to act as cooling centers for residents who do not have air conditioning in their homes.

The cooling centers will be open again 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday.

“During this heat wave, families in need are invited to stop by and enjoy the air conditioning at these community centers, along with their many other amenities available to residents of all ages,” Horrigan said.

The Akron cooling centers include:

•?Lawton Street Community Center, 1225 Lawton St.

•?Mason Park Community Center, 700 E. Exchange St.

•?Patterson Park Community Center, 800 Patterson Ave.

•?Summit Lake Community Center, 380 W. Crosier St.

The Akron Summit Public Library reminded folks that its main library in downtown Akron and the 18 branch libraries in the system are all air-conditioned and can offer refuge from the heat.

Some Northeast Ohio high school sports teams and youth teams called off practices for the day or shortened the length and doubled up water breaks. In the case of football, some teams nixed wearing full gear and ran simple drills.

Animals feel the heat

It is even hot for critters too.

Akron Zoo spokeswoman Elena Bell said when it gets this hot they let the animals choose whether to stay indoors or venture out into the heat.

“Some choose to be inside like the red panda,” she said. “Some don’t mind the heat like the lions, and others go in and out throughout the day like the grizzly bears.”

The zoo provides ways for the animals to chill in the heat.

“We also give the animals some ways to cool down in their habitats with piles of ice, ice blocks, cool pools of water, misters and fans,” Bell said.

Conserving power

FirstEnergy spokesman Mark Durbin said the utility just completed inspections of its transmission and distribution systems to ensure they are ready to meet the continued increase in demand for electricity as hot weather lingers.

But Durbin said customers can help too by conserving energy wherever possible.

“Set thermostats as high as comfort will allow,” he said. “Every degree a customer can increase the temperature in their home will result in using about 3 percent less energy during the hottest summer days.”

The National Weather Service says warm temperatures and high humidity are combining to create potentially dangerous conditions for those without access to air conditioning or those outside for extended periods of time.

They advise residents to drink plenty of water and to take it easy and watch out for signs of heat-related illness, including dizziness, fatigue and headache.

There is some relief on the horizon, forecasters say, as the “bubble” of hot air over Ohio bursts late Wednesday, ushering in showers and storms and cooler temperatures in the upper 70s on Thursday.

Staff writer Betty Lin-Fisher contributed to this report. Craig Webb can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3547.