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Heat wave begins – and it’s sticking around a while

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As the thermometer surged into the high 80s on Friday, Rochester libraries were getting ready.

“We have these big, big fans we set up in the entryway,” said Jason Gogniat, who supervises the Lincoln branch.

“The library is one of the last places where you can come in, cool off, and stay as long as you want without being asked to buy anything,” Gogniat said. “We’re open to everyone.”

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the weekend, forecasting that temperatures will rise into the upper 90s. The city said it will take emergency measures to help people cool off during the heat wave, including extending library hours at some branches and opening up some fire hydrants and spray parks.

Temperatures this high can be dangerous for anyone who has trouble communicating their discomfort, said Tracey Davidoff, a physician at Rochester Immediate Care. Those could include people with a language barrier or developmental disability, as well as young children and elderly residents with dementia.

Davidoff urged neighbors to keep track of each other. She said the symptoms of overexposure to the heat can be obvious to someone looking out for them.

“People will start acting funny, they will stop sweating, and they will get very lethargic,” Davidoff said. “If anybody’s around somebody and they notice that this is happening to them, obviously get them out of the heat as soon as possible.”

Forecasters expect the heat will not stop after the weekend. Asked when he expected temperatures to cool down again, Bob Hamilton at the National Weather Service’s Buffalo office laughed and asked, rhetorically, “I don’t know. Labor Day?”

“Temperatures may drop a few degrees as we head into the new week, but it looks like all of next week we’re going have temperatures in the 90s every day, so I don’t know if there’s going be a true break in the heat for at least 10 days, maybe two weeks,” Hamilton said.

And night time won’t bring much relief. With temperatures dipping only into the mid-70s, Hamilton said, homes and offices won’t be able to cool off completely. “Without AC, you could be looking at a house that turns into a heat oven after several days. I mean, you’re good for the first night, but day, after day, after day, after day of the heat, and it’s a problem.”

Back at the library, Gogniat said, he has a hint for a certain crowd: “The teen area, for some reason, is the best in all seasons. During the winter it’s the hottest, and during the summer, it’s the coolest.”