Record breaking temperatures sent area residents flocking to Frances Slocum State Park on Sunday for swimming, camping and picnicking.
Sitting in a camp chair near the park’s lake, Kevin Halman, of the Lehigh Valley, said his family had come to the area because they heard the lake was a great place to put their kayaks in the water.
“We just bought kayaks a few months ago,” he said. “My brother lives in West Wyoming, and he thought this would be a perfect place to spend a day.”
John Banghoff, National Weather Service meteorologist, said the temperature hit 94 degrees at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport on Sunday, breaking a record high of 93 set in 1968.
He added that other factors made the heat a bit more tolerable.
“There was a breeze and that helps,” he said. “And Saturday’s overnight low was near 70, so people had somewhat of a reprieve in the morning.”
Area residents should brace for even higher temperatures today as the high is expected to reach 98 degrees.
The Halmans didn’t seem concerned about that on Sunday, however.
As other family members took the kayaks out on the lake, Carter Halman, 8, was enjoying a lazy afternoon on a blanket on the shore.
“He likes fishing. We brought the poles,” said Kevin Halman. “We’re hoping to do some fishing later.”
Kevin said that although he was well aware that temperatures were rising, he was “more than comfortable,” spending the afternoon on and near the lake.
Lori Beth Cole from upstate New York, said she and 10-year-old daughter, Leah, were thoroughly enjoying their first camping trip to Frances Slocum, not merely for the recreational opportunities, but for the chance to learn a little about history.
“Last night we walked an historic trail,” she said. “And my dad told the story of Frances Slocum and her capture by Indians. They found her years later, but she didn’t want to come back.”
For those hoping to spend time outdoors during this holiday week, Banghoff advises caution.
“There’s a difference between taking precautions so that you won’t get burned and taking precautions to prevent heat stroke or heat exhaustion,” he said. “When temperatures rise like this, were very concerned with bringing your internal body temperature down by staying hydrated and avoiding being directly out in the sun.”