Yakima City will offer two of its community centers as a refuge from the extreme heat in Yakima County in the coming days.
Those needing to get out of the heat will be welcome at the Harman Center, 101 N. 65th Ave., and the Washington Fruit Community Center, 602 N. Fourth St. The Harman Center is open 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays. . -Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. It is closed on Sundays. The Washington Fruit Community Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
That leaves a void on Sunday, but hours and days could be extended if necessary and logistics can be sorted out, city spokesman Randy Beehler said.
“Is it under review? Yes,” he said. “Are we at this decision point yet, no.” “
The city also offers free water games at Miller and Martin Luther King Jr. parks.
The national weather service is to predict triple-digit highs until the end of next week, with several days at or exceeding the previous highest temperature recorded at Yakima, 110 degrees in August 1971.
Horace Ward, director of operations for the county’s emergency management office, recommends that those in need of air conditioning visit the Yakima Valley Mall or one of the Yakima Valley library locations. The mall, 2529 Main St. in Union Gap, is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Library hours vary By location and are listed at www.yvl.org/about-the-library/locations. All branches have operated with limited hours and capacity since reopening in March, and it’s unclear if that will change to accommodate people who need to get out of the heat. Yakima Valley Libraries executive director Kim Hixson did not respond to a message seeking comment on the story.
But Ward, along with county emergency management, said Inslee’s lifting of interior capacity limits “kind of helps libraries with a little leeway to increase that as needed.”
Meanwhile, his office is trying to compile a list of private facilities that the public could access to escape the heat. And he works with local police and fire departments to distribute water, especially to those on the streets during the hottest hours of the day.
The Yakima Health District, likewise, “is looking for resources and opportunities that we can direct people to,” according to an email from agency spokesperson Stephanie Badillo-Sanchez. She added that Yakima Neighborhood Health Services has resources for the homeless, including water and motel vouchers. Those in need can visit the ward’s Neighborhood Connections Clinic, 102 S. Naches Ave., call the Homelessness Help Desk at 509-249-6232, or search for the Homeless Assistance Van. Neighborhood Health, which distributes water and ice to people in need every day.
Government agencies in western Washington have announced they will open facilities to use as cooling centers. In Seattle, where temperatures are expected to peak at 102 on Tuesday, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the opening of 30 such centers.
In Yakima County, we’re more used to the heat, Ward said.
“People here are usually used to it, especially after a few days,” he said.
Used or not, extreme heat like the one we’re going to have over the next week or more “can put anyone at risk of heat illness,” according to a Yakima Health District press release on Thursday urging people to stay away they can. People over 65, under 2, or with chronic or mental illnesses are most likely, the statement said. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps.
In extreme cases, the heat can kill. More than 600 people die from it each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And that could be underestimated. A study on global change research policies Quoted by The Environmental Protection Agency puts the number closer to 1,300.
“We’re definitely seeing days over 100 degrees, but it’s going to be a longer lasting event,” Ward said. “And, again, as the need arises, we have the ability to open things up to the community,” Ward said.