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Cooling Centers Opening This Week As Heat Wave Descends

Evan Hoover
File photo

Hot weather could pose problems over the next week across western Washington.

The National Weather Service says temperatures in the Puget Sound region will push into the upper 90s by Thursday, maybe crossing above 100 degrees. The record in Seattle is 103, set in 2009.

“We do get some hot spells up here, but our hot spells are normally in the upper 80s, lower 90s,” said meteorologist Arthur Gaebel at the National Weather Service office in Seattle. “This area of the country, air conditioning is not as prevalent as the Midwest and East Coast. A lot of homes don’t have it.”

Seattle’s cooling centers include public libraries, buildings at Seattle Center, senior centers, and pools. 

In Pierce County, libraries and other public buildings also provide some cool relief. The county health department offers some advice.

Check with your city hall or county health department for more information on any cooling centers in your area.

While for most people the heat will simply be uncomfortable, for some it can be dangerous. Hot weather presents the risk of heat-induced illness, especially among older people and very young children. Here are some tips for staying cool and healthy:

  • Stay hydrated at all times. Avoid beverages with sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, which can cause dehydration.
  • Take advantage of buildings, including public cooling centers, with air conditioning.
  • Avoid outdoor activity if you can.
  • Check up on relatives and neighbors.
  • Never leave children and pets unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked. It doesn’t take long for car interiors to reach dangerous or even lethal temperatures.
Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.