Amherst and Northampton to open cooling centers during expected heat wave

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 07-25-2023 4:56 PM

Amherst and Northampton are preparing to open designated cooling centers over the next three days as during the hot and humid weather expected to last through the rest of this week.

In Amherst, the Bangs Community Center will be open from Wednesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Community members are invited to drop by the air-conditioned building at 70 Boltwood Walk. Staff from the Fire Department, Senior Center and Community Responders for Equity, Service and Safety are expected to be present during the course of the day.

Northampton plans to open its cooling centers Thursday and Friday. The Senior Center, 67 Conz St., will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Other spots people can catch a break from the heat include Forbes Library, 20 West St., and Lilly Library, 19 Meadow St., both days, at Manna Community Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday and at Edwards Church, 297 Main St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Friday.

Temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 80s and low 90s this week, with the feels-like temperatures much higher.

Amherst residents are reminded about other options to cool off, including the town’s full-size swimming pools, Mill River and War Memorial, the wading pool for children at Mill River and the spray park, also for children, at Groff Park.

In addition, Puffer’s Pond is open for swimming, though the Jump Bridge to the Fort River, located off Stanley Street, is currently closed.

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The town provided various tips about staying safe, including never leaving children or pets alone in a closed vehicle. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise quickly.

That was seen on Saturday afternoon, when Amherst police officers rescued two dogs from a hot car panting heavily after being inside the car for about 45 minutes, and with no water. Police freed the dogs around 1:48 p.m. and brought them to the police station, where they recovered.

Other tips include wearing lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, drinking plenty of water, limiting exposure to the sun, and checking on neighbors who live alone and have medical conditions that may leave them susceptible to heat.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.]]>