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Where to Find Relief During Heat Waves

Where to Find Relief During Heat Waves

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

The Hudson Valley has entered the dog days of summer, when alliterative harbingers of hot and humid weather become all-too-familiar visitors. It can be a dangerous time as temperatures rise, especially for those without the means to stay cool. County and municipal leaders in the region want their neighbors to know they’re here for them if summer gets too intense.

Ulster County has numerous community cooling centers, where locals can cool off during heat waves when the air feels as thick as a wool blanket. Most are open during intense heat that lasts for at least three days straight, like the weather that hit the Hudson Valley in mid-June. A few remain open around the clock to ensure that people have the option to stay safe at all times.

“Our first response is to remind people that the lobby of City Hall (4 High Street in Saugerties) is available 24/7 as a cooling center,” said Fred Costello, Supervisor of the City of Saugerties. “If we or a neighboring community has a greater need, we can set up the senior center (207 Market Street in Saugerties) as a shelter with up to 100 beds. We also have shelters set up at fire stations.”

Other county-operated cooling centers include the 2nda Iglesia la Mission Church (80 Elmendorf Street in Kingston); the Trudy Farber Building (50 Centre Street in Ellenville); the Elting Memorial Library (93 Main Street in New Paltz); the Rosendale Recreation Center (1055 Route 32 in Rosendale); the Highland Public Library (14 Elting Place in Highland); and the New Paltz Church of the Nazarene (170 Route 32 in New Paltz).

Many of these locations are easily accessible via UCAT bus routes. For opening times and service dates, visit: https://ulstercountyny.gov/emergency-services/cooling-centers.

Many local communities that are not on the county’s list can also open their doors during extreme weather. In New Paltz, the Village Hall meeting room (25 Plattekill Avenue) and Family of New Paltz (51 North Chestnut Street) are were open during the June heat wave. Woodstock Town Hall (45 Comeau Drive) has also been open as a cooling center in the past.

Lakes, ponds and swimming areas are plentiful in the Hudson Valley, some with lifeguards. The Village Beach on South Partition Street in Saugerties has lifeguards from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week through August.

Ulster County also provides lifeguard services at the swimming area at Sojourner Truth/Ulster Landing Park (916 Ulster Landing Road in Saugerties), open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lifeguards are also on duty at the Ulster County Pool Complex (241 Libertyville Road in New Paltz), although the pool has been closed since Wednesday, June 26 due to significant water loss.

In an interview with Hudson Valley OneAmberly Jane Campbell, deputy district administrator, said the public works department suspects the problem is related to a check valve built into the bottom of the pool.

“They think it’s because of the high water table in the area,” Campbell said.

On Thursday, June 27, a diver from an outside contractor inspected the pool and repaired three damaged control/relief valves. At press time, the pool was still experiencing issues, although county officials said they hoped others would reopen this week. For up-to-date information on the pool’s closure and lifeguard hours when it reopens, visit: https://ulstercountyny.gov/public-works/ulster-county-pool-complex.

Campbell said she understood the pool’s closure, despite the recent heatwave having ended, would be disappointing for local swimmers.

“I know I would be angry if I wanted to swim,” Campbell said.

In the city of Kingston, Kingston Point Beach at Kingston Point Park recently extended its hours, with lifeguards on duty Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Kingston has also opened its Andretta Pool and splash pad (76 North Front Street), free to the public Wednesday through Sunday, with varying open swim times. The pool is closed to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays for summer camp swim days. For information on the Andretta Pool schedule, visit: https://www.kingston-ny.gov/filestorage/8401/55623/Andretta_Pool_Schedule_2024.pdf.

“We are excited to open the beach and pool to our residents this summer, and once again we can open both for free,” Mayor Steve Noble said in a press release.

Whether or not you plan to visit a cooling center or pool, Campbell offers a series of heat safety tips:

• Check the weather forecast in your area, wear light clothing and sunscreen when outdoors

• Drink more water than normal, even if you are not thirsty, especially if you work outdoors

• Limit or avoid outdoor activities/exercise, especially between 11am and 4pm.

• Stay cool and find an air-conditioned area, a cooling shelter or a local swimming pool

• Monitor people at higher risk, especially adults over 60, pregnant women, children and people with disabilities.

• Keep an eye on pets and provide plenty of shade and water.

Learn about the risks of extreme heat and how to recognize the signs of heat illness and exhaustion at: www.health.ny.gov/environmental/emergency/weather/hot.

If you are sick and need medical attention, contact your health care provider for advice and take shelter if you can. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

Keep calm, Hudson Valley.