December 5, 2021

Cortland, Cayuga counties to set up places to cool off


Cortland County is arranging to open two cooling centers Friday and Saturday and Cayuga County one to help people cope with a heat wave expected to send temperatures past 90 degrees and the heat index up to 110.

The National Weather Service warns that temperatures Friday and Saturday will reach up to 91 degrees, with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms both days. However, the humidity, compounded with the heat, will make the weather feel closer to 105 to 110 degrees — enough to reduce the body’s ability to cool itself through perspiration.

Heat cramps and heat exhaustion are likely, the weather service reports, and people exerting themselves heavily may be subject to heat stroke.

The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest preventing heat ailments by seeking cool places, staying hydrated, avoiding heavy exertion — and eat lighter meals.

“Drink, drink, drink,” Cortland County Public Health Director Catherine Feuerherm said this morning. “Go to one of the big stores that has air conditioning.”

Cooling centers open when the heat index tops 95 degrees, Feuerherm said, which she expects to be 1 to 8 p.m. Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.

You can go to these cooling centers, but call ahead to make sure they’re staffed:
• Access to Independence, Conference Room, 26 N. Main St., Cortland. Call 607-753-1182 or 211.
• Port Watson Mini Conference Center, 131 Port Watson St, Cortland. Call 607-753-1182 or 211.
• The Fingerlakes Mall, 1579 Clark St. Road, Auburn. Call 315-253-3477.

Here’s what to look for in heat stroke:
• A body temperature of 103 degrees or higher.
• Hot, red, dry, or damp skin.
• Fast, strong pulse.
• Headache.
• Dizziness.
• Nausea.
• Confusion.
• Losing consciousness.

If someone meets those symptoms, call 911 and move the person to a cool place. Apply cool cloths, but do not give water.

Heat exhaustion, like stroke, can bring dizziness, headache, nausea and weakness. But it will show heavy sweating and cold, pale, clammy skin instead. Move the person to a cool place, apply cool cloths and have the person sip water. Seek medical attention if symptoms last longer than an hour.