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Cooling Centers offer relief from weekend heat

SOUTH COUNTY — A three-day heat wave took over much of California just in time for Labor Day weekend, and the National Weather Service announced an excessive heat advisory warning for Monterey County and the San Francisco Bay Area.

To combat the heat and protect residents, South County cities set up cooling centers and stations.

The City of Gonzales offered a “Cooling Station” on Friday at the Gonzales City Council Chambers from 1 to 6 p.m., but as of 2:15 p.m., no community residents had come in, according to Public Works Director Harold Wolgamott. The city had two more opportunities to attend cooling centers at the Gonzales Joint Use Gym on Saturday and Sunday, and the Gonzales Community Pool was also open to residents.

In Soledad, the city partnered with South County YMCA and the Soledad Unified School District to identify two sites where residents could see relief from the heat. The facilities provided air conditioning and water for residents during the projected warmest peak of the day from 1 to 6 p.m.

South County YMCA provided the cooling center on Friday and Sunday. On Friday, the facility had visitors Juan and Sara Magdaleno and Josefina Casillas. The Magdalenos came into the cooling center when it got too warm in their mobile home and they couldn’t take it anymore.

“Someone told us that there was a cooling place at the YMCA and we said ‘OK’ instead of staying in this trailer,” Juan Magdaleno said.

Casillas locked up her house before coming to work at the YMCA and said she felt the sun taking all the moisture to make her feel like a raisin.

A family of four, Kaylee, Damian and Elijah Perez and their mother, took advantage of the cooling center because they didn’t want to get heat stroke, according to Damian.

Cooling centers were also offered over the weekend at the Greenfield Civic Center, where residents could grab a bottle of water inside the Council Chambers, and the King City Recreation Center on Division Street. The King City location provided an air-conditioned room, water and played Disney’s “Peter Pan” for residents.

Brooklyn Monroy and Avelina Ortiz, students from Chalone Peaks Middle School, came by the cooling center for community service hours for the school leadership team.

Monroy and Ortiz were joined by Maria Tirado and Fabian Hernandez, who came into the cooling center to get cool and refreshed on the hottest day of the Excessive Heat Warning on Saturday, Sept. 2. Temperatures in King City reached above 110 degrees.

According to a news release sent out by PG&E, their meteorologists were forecasting one of the hottest stretches overall in the past 20 years to hit the Central Coast. PG&E was expecting energy usage to increase over the Labor Day weekend, which could cause stress on the power grid and lead to some outages.


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