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As temperatures rise, here’s how you can safely beat the heat in the Southern Tier

Empty Pool
Aurora Berry
Alex Haley Pool in Ithaca. Temperatures will rise into the 90s across the region this week.

The Southern Tier is getting hit with a heat wave this week that will push temperatures past the mid-90s. With uncommonly hot and humid weather in the forecast for a large part of the country, heat-related illnesses are a concern for public health officials.

Extreme heat can be especially dangerous for people who work outside, people with disabilities, children and the elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s how to stay safe (and cool) in the Southern Tier during a summer swelter.

Tompkins County 

Tompkins County Whole Health Commissioner Frank Kruppa said there are common-sense ways to stay safe, like staying hydrated and out of the sun.

He also said Tompkins County residents who don’t have air conditioning at home can cool down during the day by visiting public spaces.

“In our community, we have places that are available for folks, like our mall,” Kruppa said. “All of our public libraries, during their normal hours, are available.”

Kruppa recommends calling ahead to make sure these places are open before going. He also encouraged checking in on older neighbors, especially those who don’t have access to air conditioning.

“They are some of the most high-risk individuals, and we want to make sure we're looking out for each other during this heat wave.”

Kruppa said multiple days of high temperatures can have a cumulative effect on the body. He advised watching out for signs of heat exhaustion and stroke.

The Ithaca City School District announced schools will end two hours early this week to keep students safe from the heat.

Steuben, Schuyler and Chemung counties

Public libraries, shopping centers, community centers, public swimming pools and public parks are all available as cooling centers in Steuben, Schuyler and Chemung counties.

Additional cooling centers in Chemung County include Catholic Charities of Chemung and Schuyler County's Community Kitchen and New Beginnings United Methodist Church, both in Elmira. The church is closed Wednesdays. The Corning Senior Center is open all week—including on Wednesday, which is Juneteenth—and is available to people 55 and older.

Schuyler County officials say the local Walmart is available as a cooling center. And for people aged 60 and older, the Silver Spoon Cafe at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls will also be available all week.

Broome County 

In Broome County, residents can also stop by cooling centers to get out of the heat. The Broome County Public Library, as well as public libraries in Johnson City, Vestal and Endicott, offer a respite from the hot weather.

Broome County’s public pools are open for use, including the pools at Recreation Park and Floral Park. There are also spray parks at CFJ Park in Johnson City and Columbus Park in Binghamton.

The Oakdale Commons in Johnson City serves as a cooling center. Senior centers across Broome County are open and ready for residents looking to cool off.

More cooling centers can be found on the New York State Department of Health’s website. Some local libraries and county facilities may be closed on Wednesday for Juneteenth. Check with your local cooling center ahead of time to be sure it is open.

Tips for staying cool 

The National Weather Service and local officials advise residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room or use fans, limit sun exposure and check in on neighbors and family members.

When outside, wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing. Try to limit strenuous activities and exercise to early morning or evening. Look for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

And don’t forget your pets. Limit their outside activities, keep them in the shade, provide plenty of water and don’t leave them in a parked car.

For more information about cooling centers in the area, check your local government's website and social media accounts. The Department of Health's website also has more information on heat illnesses and care.