NYC opens 500 cooling centers during heat wave

New York City’s first heat wave of the season is here. The city’s Emergency Management Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Monday issued an official heat warning, with temperatures expected to exceed 90 degrees and peak later this week. To give New Yorkers a place to cool off and rest amidst the scorching weather, the city has made it easy to locate hundreds of cooling centers across the five boroughs with an interactive map.

Explore the map here.

According to the National Weather Service, extreme heat is characterized by a period when the heat index, which is “what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature,” is at 100 degrees or higher for one or more days, or 95 degrees or higher for two or more consecutive days.

Temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s on Wednesday, with peak heat projected on Thursday and Friday with an estimated heat index of 99 degrees, Mayor Eric Adams said in a Monday press conference.

“The first heat wave of the season is here and we are ready. We expect the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory for New York City that would be in effect from Thursday, June 20 through Friday, June 21,” Adams said. “High heat and humidity are also being forecast over the next few days. We expect to see temperatures in the low 90s on Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Using the city’s online map, New Yorkers without air-conditioning can find nearby cooling centers to escape the heat. Most cooling centers are located in air-conditioned facilities such as libraries, malls, community centers, senior centers, and NYCHA properties. Additionally, pet-friendly cooling centers are available in each borough. Because of Juneteenth on Wednesday, some cooling centers will be closed, including all public libraries.

The city’s Parks Department also offers an online map of outdoor cooling resources, including water fountains, open fire hydrants, and shady tree-lined blocks. While public pools won’t open until June 27, city beaches are open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

On Monday, the city officially launched its Heat Emergency Plan. The initiative has three main objectives: spreading awareness and public outreach, minimizing impacts on public health, and minimizing impacts on infrastructure.

To effectively respond to the heat, the city is working with the Department for the Aging to open senior centers as cooling centers and with the FDNY to monitor call volume and provide spray caps for fire hydrants to anyone 18 and older with proper identification. Additionally, the NYPD and Department of Social Services are coordinating to connect homeless New Yorkers with cooling centers.

As part of the emergency plan, a network of 700 volunteers and 37 community non-profit partners are expanding emergency notifications to reach immigrant communities, non-English speakers, seniors, and people with disabilities. The city is also collaborating with City Meals on Wheels, Staten Island, God Loves We Deliver, and the Food Bank of NYC to distribute heat safety information to vulnerable communities.

Find a full map of the city’s cooling centers here.


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