Two more heat-related deaths were confirmed Wednesday, pushing the state's death toll this summer to 13.
The July 7 death of Preston Mayhan, 8, of Cyril, was confirmed as heat-
The death of an 85-year-old man found dead Tuesday in his Hartshorne home also was heat-related, Ballard said. His name was not released.
Ten other deaths are being investigated for links to the heat, Ballard said.
The temperature in Oklahoma City on Wednesday rose to 109 degrees, breaking the Aug. 3 record of 106 set three years ago, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters initially thought the all-time Oklahoma City heat record of 113 could be broken Wednesday, but wind shifts, slightly elevated humidity and late-afternoon rain in some parts of the metro area staved off the last few degrees.
A thunderstorm erupted in Oklahoma City that dropped the temperature nearly 20 degrees in an hour.
The storm dumped .81 inches of rain within an hour in western Oklahoma City, according to the Mesonet, and winds of 50 mph were recorded with the storm.
Three females were injured when a piece of flying debris struck them at White Water Bay. A 13-year-old girl, a 24-year-old woman and a 40-year-old woman were struck while standing under a covered area at the park. A piece of building debris carried by a wind gust struck them, Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman Lara O'Leary said. The three were taken to local hospitals in good condition.
The westbound lanes of Interstate 44 also were closed between NW 10 and Interstate 40 for about an hour after a light pole fell across the highway because of high winds, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
The temperature was 108 degrees just before 4 p.m. at Will Rogers World Airport. An hour later, the temperature reading was 91 degrees, according to the weather service.
“The consensus here is that it was a wet microburst or a wet downburst,” said meteorologist Brian Holland, with the weather service in Norman.
“On a day like today, when there's not a lot of upper-level winds and with all the heating at the surface, you get a pretty unstable atmosphere, and it basically collapses back down on itself so you get a lot of rain or hail in one place. The one thing that's important today that makes it different from the other hot days is we had this weak front draped across the area, so that's what triggered the storm,” Holland said.
Water usage still too high in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City water customers used 193.5 gallons of water Tuesday, city utility spokeswoman Debbie Ragan said, a clear sign to city officials that residents are not honoring the mandatory watering restrictions imposed for much of the summer.
A record daily use of 189 million gallons stood for years but has been surpassed routinely for more than a week, with a record of 202 million gallons set Saturday.
City officials have issued numerous written warnings to violators of the rules, which restrict even-numbered addresses to watering on even-numbered days and odd-numbered addresses to odd-numbered days. But Ragan said tickets with fines of $167 soon will be issued to repeat violators, and more warnings will be issued to those caught for the first time.
Water pressure continues to be low during peak demand periods for residents living on the city's fringes, Ragan said.
“That Bermuda grass will grow back (if it dies this summer),” Ragan said. “People should think about their neighbors and not water on days they shouldn't. Save your bushes and your trees if you can, but the lawn can grow back.”
Heat calls break records
EMSA paramedics responded to 255 heat-related calls in Oklahoma City this summer through Tuesday and took 170 patients to hospitals, said O'Leary, EMSA's spokeswoman. The numbers are easily the most the service has had in the city for one summer.
O'Leary said even healthy, fit people should heed warnings to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, as evidenced by the troubles of one healthy Oklahoma City woman who was overheated Saturday.
Nikeashia Hines, 37, has lived in Oklahoma all of her life. Hines said she has been through numerous hot summers featuring public pleas for people to stay hydrated and out of the sun.
But she never got dangerously overheated until this weekend in her eighth hour of working mostly outside while helping at a church event.
“The thing that scared me was my heart was racing so fast. It just wouldn't stop,” said Hines, who was wearing a hat and sunscreen and had made a point to drink plenty of water.
Hines said she spends some time outside every day but was taken by surprise when she suddenly was sluggish and overheated.
The high in Oklahoma City has been at least 100 degrees for nine straight days and for 37 out of the last 42 days, according to the weather service.
That pattern is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.