- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This week’s heat wave is helping local businesses, as children flock to the nearest cooling water and others hunker down near air conditioners.

“The popularity of Hurricane Harbor is definitely at its peak on the hottest days,” said Karin Korpowski of Six Flags America, adding that the Largo amusement park had noticed a small increase in attendance.

A ticket allows entrance to both the roller coaster and water rides, but most visitors have been keeping cool on the water side for the past few days, she said.

“We have so many pass holders that use us as their community pool,” she said.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory yesterday as temperatures climbed above 95 degrees before storms cooled things off about 15 degrees. The heat today is expected to reach 93 degrees before more thunderstorms bring a cool front.

At Reston’s Lake Fairfax Park, which features the Water Mine Family Swimming Hole, Park Manager Carl Kirtley said, “Attendance is definitely up.”

Mr. Kirtley reported a 15 percent increase in average July attendance. July is typically the park’s busiest month, he said, the past few days had been high even for July.

Employees for air-conditioning service companies Cropp Metcalfe in Alexandria and A-One Air in Camp Springs both noted an above-average demand.

Roy Soller, an employee in the Alexandria office of John C. Flood Plumbing and Air Conditioning, said the longer the heat wave lasts, the higher the demand will be because more units will break.

But for some local companies, it has been business as usual.

Steve Perry, the owner of CFS Service Corp., said that since he doesn’t advertise much, his air-conditioning business has not seen much of an increased demand from the hot spell.

“Are we busy? Yeah, we’re busy,” he said. “But are we too busy to help everyone who calls? No.

“The hardest thing about the heat wave is the guys stuck working out in the heat,” he said.

Despite being in an air-conditioned escape from the heat, an employee of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City said the mall has not seen higher attendance the past few days.

And the heat has not kept tourists from seeing the nation’s capital, said Dave Cohen, the general manager for Old Town Trolley Tours and D.C. Ducks.

“We’re in the sightseeing businesses,” he said. “Tourists are already here. They’ve already come. By golly, they are going to go sightseeing.”

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