Heat finally breaks; relieved Wichitans go outside to play

09/04/2011 12:00 AM

09/05/2011 7:35 AM

It was so cool Sunday, the YMCA shut down its outdoor water parks.

Goodbye, 100-degree days. Hello, 80s.

Where have you been all summer?

Alan Rivera, YMCA North Branch manager on duty Sunday afternoon, said the high of 80 — a full 20 degrees cooler than Saturday — was simply too cool to open all of the YMCA's four outdoor waterparks.

That was disappointing to 13-year-old Samantha Lamb. The bikini-clad girl planned an afternoon tanning her already-freckled skin at the North Branch YMCA outdoor waterpark. But then her mom, Cathy Lamb, broke the news that the park had closed.

"I bring all my sunscreen and stuff and I'm ready and try to invite friends, then they say it's closed," Samantha said.

Several folks looking to swim on the last weekend before the waterparks shut down for the season were disappointed, Rivera said.

"It's nice out, so they were expecting ... to enjoy the weather and go swimming," he said.

Most, like Samantha, settled for a dip in the indoor pool instead.

Today is the last day all YMCA outdoor waterparks are open for the season. Pool hours are noon to 5 p.m., weather permitting.

Rivera said that, for him, the reprieve from the heat came a day late.

"I wish it was like this yesterday," he said, "because I was out at a football game."

"But it's nice."

Wichitan Jamie Pearson, 33, spent the day outside with her son, 8-year-old Jon, and daughter 1-year-old Toryn.

The family started the day playing on their backyard swingset. After naps and snacks, Jamie and her mother-in-law Sondra Pearson took the kids to At Central Riverside Park to walk, feed the geese and play.

By 6:30 p.m., the family headed toward the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit to see the animals.

"We've been out probably twice as much today as normal," Jamie said.

"Their cheeks just get so bright red when it's over 100."

Wichitans can expect sunny skies and cooler temperatures through the end of the week, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Cook, with highs in the low 80s.

Lows will be positively autumnal, dipping into the 40s and 50s.

"There'll be maybe a little bit of a warming trend, but nothing too crazy," Cook said. "It doesn't look like right now we're going to get back into the cooker."

But things could change, he added. This is Kansas.

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