Fort Wayne matched its hottest day on record Thursday as thermometers climbed to a scorching 106 degrees by mid-afternoon.
According to the National Weather Service, the official temperature reached 106 at about 4 p.m. Fort Wayne has reached 106 degrees three times in the past, most recently in 1988.
Despite the near record-high temperatures, local hospitals reported few heat-related illnesses, and cooling centers set up around Fort Wayne did not appear swamped with visitors trying to escape the weather. But all three of the city's public pools were at capacity Thursday afternoon after Mayor Tom Henry waived the usual entrance fees.
Parkview Health spokesman John Perlich said the hospital network did not see its first heat-related patient until about 3 p.m. at the Randallia Drive campus. Only one case had been reported by emergency room staff, he said.
A Lutheran Health Network spokeswoman did not immediately have information Thursday afternoon on how many heat-related cases had been reported at Lutheran's three Fort Wayne hospitals or its Redi-Med clinics.
Perlich said recent media coverage on the intense heat and dry conditions may have convinced most Fort Wayne residents to stay inside, drink plenty of fluids and take other precautions against the heat.
"There's been quite a bit of proactive public education going on over the past couple of days through media, through newspapers and TV," he said.
City spokesman Frank Suarez did not have exact figures on how many people had used the city's four public cooling centers, which are expected to stay open through at least Friday to help people who do not have air conditioning at home.
Over a two-day period in July 2011, about 40 people used the centers to escape the heat, and this year's numbers likely would not be much greater, Suarez said.
The public pools at Northside and McMillen parks were at their capacity of 400 people just before 4:40 p.m., and Memorial Pool had reached its 200-person limit, Suarez said.
Over the entire day, the pools likely far surpassed their average daily attendance. Northside averages 450 people per day, while McMillen averages 225 and Memorial 75, Suarez said.
Henry announced the city would waive pool entrance fees Thursday and Friday.