Fayette County

Lexington offers cooling centers, cuts pool fees to help residents in heat wave

Brooke Counts, left, and Lauren Counts, 10, Both of Nicholasville, Ky., sit under an umbrella as golfers make their way to the 17th green during the PGA Barbasol Championship opening round at Keene Trace Golf Club’s Champions Course in Nicholasville, Ky., Thursday, July 18, 2019. Temperatures are expected remain in the middle 90s on Friday.
Brooke Counts, left, and Lauren Counts, 10, Both of Nicholasville, Ky., sit under an umbrella as golfers make their way to the 17th green during the PGA Barbasol Championship opening round at Keene Trace Golf Club’s Champions Course in Nicholasville, Ky., Thursday, July 18, 2019. Temperatures are expected remain in the middle 90s on Friday. aslitz@herald-leader.com

With temperatures and humidity climbing, the city of Lexington activated its emergency heat plan to provide half-priced pool admission, free Lextran rides to shelters and additional cooling centers through Sunday.

Temperatures will top out in the mid 90’s for most of the weekend according to WKYT Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey. However, the heat index, which takes humidity into account, will increase into the 100s.

“It’ll feel 100-105 in most areas during the peak of the afternoon tomorrow,” Bailey said. “Not all day it’s going to feel like that and not all day on Saturday, but during the peak heating of the afternoon that heat index will top out between 100 and 105.”

Residents might have noticed that city garbage removal started earlier Thursday, and the schedule change will continue Friday, with commercial pickup beginning at 3 a.m. and residential pickup starting at 4 a.m.

“Safety is our first priority,” Tracey Thurman, director of the Division of Waste Management said in a press release. “Getting an early start on Thursday and Friday will protect our employees by them not operating collection vehicles and servicing containers during the hottest time of the day.”

To help Lexington residents stay cool this weekend, public pools will charge half-price admission. (Adult admission to the city’s aquatic centers normally is $6, $4 for children 15 and under. The city’s neighborhood pools normally charge $4 or $5 for adults and $3 for children 15 and under.)

Lextran will offer free rides to shelters and cooling centers.

The Dunbar Community Center on Upper Street will operate as a cooling center through Sunday. The Lexington Senior Center on Life Lane will also be used as a cooling center from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The city will open more centers if demand for them exists, according to John Bobel of Lexington Emergency Management.

“The office of homelessness and the organizations associated with them, they’re gonna find a place for somebody to cool off, get a drink and take it easy while it’s still excessively hot outside,” Bobel said.

The Hope Center HopeMobile will pass out sunscreen and water to those in need. The HopeMobile can be contacted at 859-252-7881.

Anyone needing assistance can dial 2-1-1, text their zip code to 898211, or visit the United Way of the Bluegrass website – www.uwbg.org - for locations of shelters and other resources in Lexington and surrounding counties.

Residents are encouraged to drink fluids, avoiding alcohol and beverages with large amounts of sugar, which can cause more loss of body fluids. Other precautions include wearing lightweight or light-colored clothing. Do not leave anyone in a hot car.

The heat isn’t expected to stick around for long, as some forecasts show the the region cooling off next week. Bailey said that there is potential for Lexington to see a record low temperature on Wednesday, when it might drop below 55 degrees.

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