SUWANEE - When the temperature climbs, business slows down at Rita's, an Italian ice shop.
"There's a fine balance," Harry Jones said. "If it's too hot, people don't want to go outside. If it's sunnier, it's better for business. It's probably a little too hot for business today."
Wednesday afternoon, a few people sat outside in 98-degree heat, munching on Italian ices and drying off after jaunts in Suwanee's downtown fountain. Jones estimated there were 75 kids playing in the jets - a low number for the city in the summer.
Audrey Wood, who owns Hairllucinations in Suwanee's Town Center Park, said the heat cut down on her number of walk-ins. Given the choice between back-to-school haircuts and back-to-school shopping, she said, many people were choosing to stay inside.
Mike Leary, a forecaster with the National Weather service, said temperatures in Gwinnett on Wednesday were teetering very close to 100 degrees. Tuesday's high was 98, and he expected temperatures to remain in the high 90s the rest of the week.
The normal temperature for this time of year is 89 degrees, he said. Wednesday's record high for Atlanta was 102 degrees, set in 1980, and he said high August temperatures are not really that unusual.
The hot weather didn't bother Trudy Lynn at Lawrenceville's Colonial 18 AMC Theatres. She said camps that had scheduled outdoor activities were coming into the air conditioning instead. Ashley Feagan, who was taking tickets at the theater, said at least 10 or 15 people commented on the weather as they walked in the door.
"They all said how much better it feels in here," she said.
In Suwanee, some kids and their parents cooled off in the fountain. But most said they would be spending less time outside than they would have if it was cooler.
Min Chang brought Alex, her 2-year-old son, to run through the water. She said she would head to the air-conditioned mall after she left, but wished there were more trees to shade her while she sat outdoors.
Yolanda Jackson said she has a pool in her subdivision, but wanted her children to have a chance to play with other kids.
"After this, we'll be inside," she said. "I'm going to go home and make them take a nap."
Leary, of the National Weather Service, said a heat advisory for Wednesday cautioned people who spend a lot of time outside to drink a lot of water and stay in the shade as much as possible.
The Clean Air Campaign warns today will be an unhealthy day for air pollution. The heat, combined with a lack of rain, is keeping the county in an extreme drought, according to the state climatologist.
For Wood, at Hairllucinations, the hot weather is rough, but not unexpected.
"All of us are acting surprised that it's this hot," she said. "We should be used to it being this hot. This summer has been so relatively mild, it's slapping us in the face. The rest of the summer spoiled us."