One More Day of Intense Heat

By: Jodi Baker Email
By: Jodi Baker Email

Heading into the fourth straight day of heat indexes in the 100's, people across the Omaha metro will have to cope the best they can Friday.

It's not stopping people from using the Keystone Trail near 78th and Cass Streets. But it is changing their habits. Sarah Simmons hasn't been riding her bicycle to work this week.

"I typically ride 20-miles a day, maybe three or four times a week," she said. "But since the weather's been hot, I've been trying to get out earlier in the morning to ride."

At the nearby Roberts Skate Park, Jordon Halloran and Keith Wilwerding said they've still been getting out with their skateboards for several hours a time. "Drink water, go to a gas station if we get thirsty, go in the car and cool off," Halloran said.

"I sweat a lot," Wilwerding said. "But I'm taking it and I'm doing fine."

Not everybody's doing as fine, said Joanne Bemis with the Salvation Army. "[It's] oppressive, and it's been so difficult for people who don't have air conditioning or who have health issues."

Her organization has provided nearly 600 box fans for those in need since June 11th. They've been going at a much faster clip this year, she said.

It's not just people without air conditioning who are taking advantage of the help. In Lanell Reed's case, it's an older, inefficient air conditioner. "The central air is not cutting it," she said. "So you need all kinds of necessities to keep your air circulating, to keep you from passing out."

She came to the Salvation Army's Lied Renaissance Center, 36th & Cuming St., Tuesday for the assist, since she's got company in town and her fan broke two days ago. "I'm extremely grateful," she said.

That location, and three others including the North Corps, Kroc Center, Council Bluffs Corps are running cooling stations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will open again from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For the cooling stations, bottled water is needed, as are more box fan donations or cash donations to buy them. Anyone who wants to help is asked t call (402) 898-5860 or simply drop off the supplies at the 36th & Cuming Salvation Army headquarters. "That simple random act of kindness can save someone's life," Bemis said.

"Nobody can do anything about [the weather]," said Dean Williams, as he drank a bottled water outside the building. "Just try and stay cool you know and out of the heat."

Experts say hydration is key, but so is wearing light, loose-fitting clothing for anyone who does plan on being outside in these hot conditions. Stay in the shade if at all possible.

The city has three fire hydrant parties scheduled for Friday. The water will be turned on at 28th Ave. & Spencer St. from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. From 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the water will flow at 35th & Ames Ave. And at 33rd and Fowler, the hydrant will be turned on from 4 to 5 p.m.

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