Spring brings a mild warmup to the area

George Copeland Jr. | 5/2/2024, 6 p.m.
Richmond is starting to heat up, as spring finally brings warmer temperatures to the Metro Area. The week started with …
Construction worker Jacob Oliver of Chester takes a break from his work building a new apartment project in Scott’s Addition. Mr. Oliver has been working on the job for a month and acknowledges that the heat can make his job tough. Photo by Regina H. Boone

Richmond is starting to heat up, as spring finally brings warmer temperatures to the Metro Area. The week started with temperature highs in the 80s, with estimated peaks of 90 degrees on Monday and Thursday.

While rain is expected later in the week, the weather has stayed bright and sunny without becoming overbearing.

For 25-year-old construction worker Jacob Oliver, the change in temperature has been noticeable as he performed infrastructure work at Soda Flats Apartments. Taking a break on Monday to buy a gallon of water from a nearby store, the Chester resident and Arizona native said the shift in temperature was clear, but his experience with hot climates and smart choices to keep himself cool meant that shift wasn’t too much trouble.

“For the most part, everyone’s doing all right,” Mr. Oliver said. “It might get worse, going into the summer months, but right now I don’t think the humidity’s too bad.”

This sentiment was echoed by local and statewide groups whose work includes or is entirely focused on observing and responding to seasonal changes and the weather.

Richmond’s cooling stations have not opened to the public, and are contingent on the local temperature reaching 92 degrees, according to Richmond city officials. When the heat does reach that threshold, information and notification on the cooling stations and their locations will be available.

Larry Brown, a lead forecaster at the National Weather Service’s station in Wakefield, noted that, while the summer season has continued to see increases in temperature over the years, that increase in heat index has not spread to months outside the summer season.

“It’s been a little above average, but we really haven’t had humidity yet,” Mr. Brown said. “The temperatures are just a little bit more consistent.”

“A lot of our summers and the warmer season have been a little bit longer but not necessarily more extreme, not to the level of getting a high heat index in April.”

Regardless of the current temperature, the importance of staying cool was still clear to those observing the changing weather and those on the ground experiencing it firsthand.

Staying hydrated, wearing appropriate clothing, avoiding going outside during very high temperatures and checking on the elderly and pets were some of the ways shared that people can use to stay safe and healthy in warm weather, and will only become more important in the months to come.