Cooling stations in operation

July 15, 2013
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
With temperatures in the low 90s, Patrick Pfeiffer, a worker with Donegal Construction, Greensburg, wipes the perspiration from his forehead Monday as he works on the College Street construction project in Washington. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter
Matt Miklic, left, and Pat Jolley, employees of Donegal Construction, Greensburg, take a break from the heat Monday to wipe perspiration from their faces as they work on the College Street construction project in Washington. Order a Print

While the National Weather Service hasn’t issued any local heat advisories yet, the next few days will be anything but a breeze.

With forecasters predicting temperatures in the 90s by Wednesday – and the mid-70s for humidity – folks might want to stock up on ice cream novelties and crank up those air conditioners this week.

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging issued a heat emergency Monday for its at-risk population of age 60 and above. Several senior centers in Washington County will operate as “cooling stations” through Thursday while two Greene County centers will extend hours as needed.

Kathy Costantino, Washington County supervisor of the agency, said a state of emergency typically is issued “anytime there’s adverse weather conditions or the temperatures rise to excessive numbers, and usually that’s in the 90s.”

Costantino said the cooling stations could be open longer if temperatures warrant it.

Jeffrey Yates, director of the Washington County Department of Public Safety, said no heat-related emergencies were issued as of Monday afternoon.

Still, he advises residents to take precautions by checking on elderly neighbors and paying extra attention to pets to make sure they are kept cool.

“We see an increase just right now between the heat and the high humidity,” Yates said. “It looks like it’s going to be a rough few days from a weather perspective.”

Two senior centers in Greene, one in Waynesburg and one in Carmichaels, will operate as cooling centers if it becomes necessary.

“We’ll extend the hours if there is a need for it,” said Stacy Stroman, senior services director of Community Action Southwest in Greene County. The normal hours for Waynesburg and Carmichaels are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

It was determined there was not a need for the cooling centers on Monday, but Stroman said that could change Tuesday.

The agency also will be checking on seniors who use its services. The centers will be calling regular center participants who haven’t been coming into the centers to make sure they are all right, she said.

Caseworkers with the case management unit also are calling “at-risk” clients of the meal delivery program to make sure they are doing well.

The agency also was awarded emergency crisis funding that can be used to help seniors purchase air conditioners for their homes. The program can provide up to $125 per household to those who meet income eligibility guidelines and have a doctor’s slip indicating need.

The following is the schedule for cooling stations at senior centers in Washington County through Thursday:

Canonsburg Senior Center – 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Burgettstown Senior Center – 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Washington Senior Center – 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Riverside Place (Charleroi) – 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Monongahela Senior Center – 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Center in the Woods – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Emily Petsko joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in June 2013. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and global cultural studies.

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