With a high temperature of 106 in the forecast for this week in Escalon, city officials said there aren’t any plans to enact cooling centers but there are some options for residents to visit cooling zones if necessary.
The National Weather Service lists 106 as the forecast high for Saturday, July 27 and the area could be in for a string of 100-plus degree days. However, according to San Joaquin County Deputy Director of the Office of Emergency Services Shellie Lima, that doesn’t necessarily correlate to cooling centers being open.
“Just because it’s 100-plus degrees during the day, that’s not really our threshold,” Lima noted of the protocol for declaring a heat emergency. “If it goes down in the 60s at night, it gives us a chance to cool down.”
There are five different phases of heat risk that the county utilizes when deciding whether to open cooling centers in the unincorporated areas of the county. Cities typically have their own protocols, Lima added.
“Cooling centers would have services such as cold water and snacks,” she explained. “Cooling zones are those buildings that are already open to the public during the day, such as libraries and shopping centers, where they could go to get cool.”
Escalon City Manager Tammy Alcantor said the city approach is similar, with residents able to access a number of cooling zones without the city having to open a specific cooling center.
“We do (open a center) if the county asks us to,” Alcantor added.
So far, that call hasn’t come this summer and even though this week is bringing some heat, the cooler weather at night will likely forestall the need.
“The Community Center is open for senior lunches (Tuesday and Thursday) and if we need to be open longer there, we are flexible,” Alcantor said of having that location serve as a cooling zone for seniors and others that might need to get out of the heat. “Also, if we get calls at City Hall, somebody looking for a cooling spot, of course we are open to the public, people can come and cool off in the council chambers.”
City Hall is at 2060 McHenry Ave., and is open Monday through Friday form 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour closure for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
Lima said the county does have information available about the heat plan on their webpage, accessible by going to www.sjgov.org/department/oes.
“We will keep monitoring the situation,” Lima noted. “It’s always changing.”