Cities allowed people into pools for free and opened emergency cooling stations as temperatures hovered in the 90s across much of the state Wednesday. The sheriff in one southwest Ohio county opened a renovated, unused jail as a place for senior citizens to cool off.
“It’s times like these that we need to use our resources to help others,” Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said. “This is a dangerous time for people, especially our senior citizens.”
The first floor of the old county jail can sleep about 15 people, and staff were providing sandwiches and drinks and offering rides to bring seniors or the homeless to the shelter.
Some rides at the Ross County Fair in Chillicothe were closed Wednesday after officials expressed concern for workers spending hours in the sun, fair board President Rick Ginther said.
By Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service had issued excessive heat warnings for 11 Ohio counties, and another 43 counties were under heat advisories through much of the day. Little relief was expected in the coming days, with stifling humidity and temperatures around 90 degrees stretching into the weekend.
Despite the heat, energy companies were handling the supply and didn’t expect to encounter any problems meeting increased demand because of the heat.
“Right now the regional supply looks good. We’re meeting customer loads and monitoring it very closely,” said Steve Brash of Duke Energy, which supplies power to about 680,000 people in southwest Ohio.
Dayton city schools, which canceled classes Tuesday and Wednesday, extended the closure into Thursday because about two-thirds of the district’s school buildings do not have air conditioning.
Officials urged people, especially the elderly, to take precautions during the extreme temperatures, avoiding prolonged exposure to the heat and sun and drinking plenty of water. In Cincinnati, where a heat emergency was extended through noon Sunday, the city kept 20 emergency cooling centers open, and Columbus eliminated admission fees for its nine city pools.