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Chicago Officially Shuts Down Majority of Cooling Centers Despite Ongoing Heat Wave

Empty cooling center building.

Chicago Closes Cooling Centers Amid Continual Heat Wave

Despite being in the throes of a persistent heat wave, Chicago officials decided to shut down all of the city’s multiple cooling centers, except one, during the federal Juneteenth holiday. This decision has come under scrutiny as temperatures continue to rise beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit for four consecutive days.

Evaporating Lifelines amid Scorching Temperatures

Earlier this week, in response to the heat wave, the city announced the establishment of six strategically located cooling centers. These facilities aimed to provide relief to citizens who lacked air conditioning and were at risk of severe heat-related health conditions. As a result of the recent closures, the Garfield Community Service Center at 10 S. Kedzie Ave. was the only center that remained operational for the day, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The official communication also encouraged residents to seek shelter at some of the 80 city libraries. However, these libraries were also shut down for the day. Limited hours of operation were observed in some Chicago Park District buildings and freshly opened park pools. The city assured that the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E. Washington would continue to extend its cooling area from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Official Explanation and Reactions

A city representative stated that the National Weather Service (NWS) had not issued any excessive heat warning warranting emergency response actions. If such a warning was released, an emergency response plan would be triggered promptly, explained a spokeswoman for the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

An NWS meteorologist confirmed the absence of any such warning. Yet, he noted that the heat index, calculating both heat and humidity, had been lingering perilously close to the hundred-degree mark for three straight days which could necessitate an alarming forecast.

Community volunteers specializing in homeless outreach and other vulnerable citizens expressed concern over the cooling center closure. They urged that it did not necessarily require ‘extreme heat’ to impact sensitive populations adversely. Consequently, older residents, pregnant women, and individuals with certain medical conditions were being exposed to a heightened risk of heat stress, illness, and potentially death.

Proactive Steps to Beat the Heat

In the meantime, concerned philanthropic citizens have taken the matter into their large-hearted hands, distributing air conditioning units to affected residents. This generous act has brought some comfort to several individuals navigating the heat wave.

As the debate continues over the closure of cooling centers amid the heat wave, city officials and residents alike hope for a reprieve in the weather soon. Until then, the collective spirits of Chicago remain high, with communities banding together to help their neighbors weather the sweltering conditions.


Chicago Officially Shuts Down Majority of Cooling Centers Despite Ongoing Heat Wave

HERE Irmo
Author: HERE Irmo

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