Thurston County declares hazardous weather event and opens cooling shelters for midsummer heatwave

By Jacob Dimond / [email protected]

Thurston County declared a three-day, three-night hazardous weather event on July 25 ahead of the midsummer heat wave in Puget Sound.

Thurston County health officials have urged people to prepare for high temperatures, which could reach the 90s in and around Yelm.

“This extreme weather is dangerous for those without shelter,” a county news release said.

Yelm and greater areas of Puget Sound can expect temperatures over 90 degrees during the week. Temperatures are expected to hit 90 degrees on Monday July 25 and are expected to rise as the week progresses.

The Yelm area was expected to peak at 96 degrees on Tuesday July 26 and remain in the 90s through Friday July 29.

Temperatures are expected to cool over the weekend as they dip into the mid-80s.

“It will be hot the rest of the week. We are expecting temperatures in the mid-90s,” said Mary Butwin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle. “The lows will be the big question mark of the week, however. We expect low temperatures to arrive overnight between the low and high 60s.”

Butwin wants residents to be aware of the nighttime temperature and noted that it could change depending on a person’s location. She reminds citizens to practice proper hydration throughout the heat wave and seek air conditioning if they can. Butwin also added that it was important to avoid direct sunlight during the hottest times of the day.

Recreational users of rivers and lakes should be mindful when cooling off in the water, Butwin said. While the temperatures can be warm, the temperatures of the various bodies of water can still be quite cold.

In anticipation of the heat wave, Thurston County Public Health and Human Services has released a list of cooling centers that will be operating in the area.

The Yelm Timberland Library at 210 Prairie Park St. SE will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, July 28 and Friday, July 29, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday July 30. People can call 360-458-3374 for more information.

The Rainier Senior Center at 108 Michigan St. S. will be open as needed throughout the week. For more information, call 360-446-2258.

The Tenino Timberland Library at 172 Central Ave. W. will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. For more information, call 360-539-3329.

In Bucoda, city residents can use the Bucoda Community Center at 202 S. Main St. It will be open as needed throughout the week. Call 360-278-3525 for more information.

Cooling centers will also be opened in Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater.

Joseph K. Bennett