Cooling Centers Remain Closed During Surprise Heat Wave

May 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Valley baked with a record 106 degree -reading on Sunday. Cooling centers around the City of Fresno normally open to the public once it hits 105.The heat never wavered on Sunday. It topped the projected high of 104 and reached 106 but designated cooling centers like the Ted C. Wills center weren't available to the public.

We did monitor throughout the day and determined by the time that spike did occur, and it went up above the threshold we didn't feel there was enough risk in the community that we could get our centers open by the time to serve anyone by the time it cooled off," said Community Relations Manager Heather Heinks

Heinks said 105 is the trigger to open the cooling centers. Local community centers provide folks with cool water and a place to rest.

Staying cool and hydrated is a priority for local seniors. But Gloria Heinrichs understands why the centers did not open. "I think the heat, it climbed really quickly and probably caught a lot of people by surprise."

Heinks said a year ago we didn't hit 105 until July 4th.

Many headed to the Fresno Senior Center to beat the heat. Here they can play dominoes or pick up some free bread. Seniors say the cooling centers are a big help. "Oh, very because right now seniors being on a fixed income and to run the air conditioning when they have this one to run a little bit and be at cooling centers," said Frank Rivera of Madera.

The city's heat plan continues to evolve. This year several swimming pools will be free and open to the public once we hit 105-degrees. Last year it was free only when we reached 110.

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