Are you ready for some seriously hot weather?
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the region that started at 2 p.m. Tuesday and will last through Friday. The National Weather Service says Thursday could be the hottest day for Western Washington since July 29, 2009.
For Olympia, Wednesday’s high is expected to reach 98 degrees, according to the weather service, and we could reach triple digits on Thursday. Friday will be slightly cooler, with highs back in the 90s.
What to know
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Plan to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and use sunscreen, even if you’re outside for only a few minutes. Don’t over do it with yard work or exercise during the hottest part of the day.
The heat is hardest on infants, young children, seniors and people with chronic illnesses. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability and loss of coordination.
Heat-related illness can rapidly escalate to heat stroke, which can be fatal.
Children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles, especially during hot weather when temperatures in vehicles can reach lethal levels in a matter of minutes.
And speaking of pets, check on outdoor pets frequently and make sure they have shelter from the sun and plenty of water.
Where to stay cool
Thurston County Emergency Management is directing people to local libraries, community centers and public safety buildings to escape the heat.
The Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation will offer a cooling center at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW, starting at 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday. (Hours on Saturday are tentative and could change based on demand.) The Artesian Commons host and park ranger will be temporarily re-assigned to staff the cooling center.
The fountain at Heritage Park will run from 2 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday (when it typically closes for maintenance) and from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. other days.
The City of Centralia will offer a cooling center at City Hall, 118 W. Maple St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
In Mason County, the Shelton Civic Center, 525 W. Cota St., will open as a cooling center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Fire danger is ‘high’
The state’s Department of Natural Resources raised the fire danger rating to “high” on Monday.
Washington State Parks has fire restrictions in place at certain parks and is asking all campers to be extra careful with campfires.
Thurston County’s summer burn ban went into effect last month.
Heat-related closures, cancellations
Due to the forecast, the Olympia Tumwater Foundation’s Heritage Builders history program is canceling its tour along the Tumwater Falls Park scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Tours will continue each of the following Thursdays at 5 p.m. beginning at the park office through mid-September.