SELMA — After temperatures reached over 110 degrees last weekend in the Central Valley, the heatwave is expected to continue this week.

“We’re looking 10 to 15 degrees above average,” National Weather Service-Hanford meteorologist Andy Ballenbacher said. “We’re also going to have relatively high humidity for a prolonged heat event in the San Joaquin Valley, which makes the heat impact even higher. So you have the humidity that makes it feel even warmer along with the actual temperatures.”

Last week, Selma and Kingsburg opened cooling centers on Friday and are expected to stay open this week, as of press time. The weather in Selma and Kingsburg is expected to be 105 through 108 degrees from Wednesday to Tuesday Aug. 25, according to the 10-day forecast on weather.com.

Selma is using the Nick Medina Senior Center as a cooling center, City of Selma Recreation Coordinator Liz Martinez said in an email. The cooling center will be open from 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. for residents who do not have adequate cooling in their homes. Openings will only be on days that the temperature is expected to reach over 105. As of press time, the cooling center will be open until Thursday.

Martinez said temperature checks and a quick health screening are required before entering the building. Masks are required to be worn and one will be provided for those who don’t have a face covering. Social distancing is required and Martinez encourages people to bring small items to keep themselves entertained. Martinez said food and snacks are allowed in the building.

Kingsburg opened the City of Kingsburg Council Chamber as a cooling center last week for anyone needing a cool place to avoid the heat. As of press time, the cooling center’s hours are from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Residents are required to wear masks and use social distancing measures.

With cooling centers as an option, Ballenbacher recommends the public to stay indoors with air conditioning as much as possible. Ballenbacher added that people should wear loose and wide-fitted clothing with light colors if they have to be outside. Ballenbacher said to avoid dark colors that absorb heat such as purple and black.

Ballenbacher said people need to make sure they’re staying hydrated whenever outdoors and recommends limiting their time outside.

“One thing that we don’t want to see happening is people going to the river,” Ballenbacher said. “We’ve had some deaths in the rivers, people go into the swift water currents. In Kings River, there were two fatalities unfortunately on Aug. 5 and we do not want to see that kind of stuff happen. We want to see people take the necessary safe measures, which is staying hydrated, wearing wide-fitted clothing, being outdoors as little as possible to be able to beat the heat in a safe manner.”

For Selma residents, the senior center is located at 2301 Selma Street. For anyone who has questions regarding the cooling center’s hours, people can contact the senior center at 559-891-2239.

Martinez said local transit will give people a free ride to the senior center if they mention they are attending the cooling center, but pick-ups and drop-offs will stop around 4:30 p.m.

Kingsburg residents can contact city hall at 559-897-5821 on weekdays and they can call dispatch at 559-897-2931 during non-business hours and on weekends to access the cooling center.

Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at (559) 583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com. Follow Jeremiah on Twitter at @TheJerryMartin. 

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