SIKESTON -- As summer settles in, the heat and humidity once again have Southeast Missourians taking refuge in their air conditioning and pools.
The numbers aren't all in for July, but June's kilowatt hour sales were up 15 percent over June 2003 in Sikeston, even with the loss of Essex's usage on the industrial side, according to Lester Wright, business manager for the Sikeston Board of Municipal Utilities.
"We actually will not bill the hottest part that we've had until the end of this month," Wright said. "We're just now reading meters for this month."
Associated Electric Cooperative, which serves customers throughout Missouri, eastern Oklahoma and southeast Iowa, saw a slight increase in electricity usage this June as compared with last year.
"It was really close," said Nancy Southworth, spokesperson for the Cooperative.
July, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be on a pace for more usage than July 2003. "It just hasn't been as hot," Southworth said. "A year ago on this day, the weather was hotter."
The real hot days, at least as indicated by electricity usage, typically come in August, Southworth said: "In 2003 we set three peaks in one week in August."
As one might expect, the YMCA of Southeast Missouri has seen an increase in membership recently.
"The good news is if they are a YMCA member they get to use the pool for free," said Debbie Patton, administrative assistant.
She said many parents are signing up their children for just that reason.
Earlier in the week, "the pool was very close to capacity," Patton said.
Judy Johnson, nurse manager for the Missouri Delta Medical Center emergency room, said there have been no heat-related deaths or admissions this year, according to MDMC emergency room logs. "We've had plenty of heat-related illnesses," she said.
Last year "there may have been an admission but I don't remember any heat-related deaths," she recalled.