Heat peaks on Thursday, some ride out hot weather in Albany cooling stations

·2 min read

Jun. 23—ALBANY — The city of Albany has seen success from the opening of cooling stations, or safe havens from the heat, in the first two days of offering residents a place to stay safe during the current heat wave.

"When I got to Friendship (Baptist Church) this morning at 9, there were four or five people waiting outside to get in," Velvet Poole, community events superintendent for the Albany Recreation and Parks Department, said on Thursday. "I've had several calls this morning for rides. I know between 9 and 10:30 (a.m.) I had several calls from people calling to be picked up. One lady had gone somewhere to cool off, and they were closing at noon so she wasn't at her residence. We said we would pick her up where she was."

To get a ride to a cooling station, call (229) 435-9961.

Dougherty County participated in the safe haven program, providing its five libraries as locations for people to cool off and get some cold water, as did several Albany churches.

Thursday was expected to be the hottest day for the week, with the Friday high to cool off by a few degrees to a high of 101 and a heat index of up to 107. Highs are expected to be 93 degrees for Saturday and Sunday. The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee issued a Thursday heat advisory of dangerous conditions that extended until 8 p.m.

The weekend is expected to bring some showers and possible thunderstorms.

At the Albany Civic Center, one of the cooling station locations open for Operation Safe Place, a good Samaritan bought a pizza lunch for those who were riding out the heat there, Poole said. A number of other churches have called to volunteer as sites for cooling stations, an idea brought to city officials by new Recreation and Parks Director Steven Belk.

To volunteer, contact Poole at vpoole@albanyga.gov or (229) 854-0742.

The city will make a determination at a later date as to whether there is a need to continue the operation.

"We now have the team in place," Poole said. "I just want to thank the community members, the churches, the libraries and the county for opening up their facilities. This is a community issue, and we worked here to help with solutions. When we have a community concern, we stand up to show 'Albany Strong.'"