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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Update: county residents, schools deal with heat wave

A digital wet bulb globe thermometer takes readings on the football field at Prairie View High School on Thursday, Aug. 17, to determine whether heat stress will be a factor in sports practices. Despite warm temperatures and direct sunlight, a steady breeze kept the readings at a relatively safe level. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

By Roger Sims, Journal staff

Update to this story: In addition to the cooling shelters listed below, the First Baptist Church of Mound City has offered its 212 Ministry building at 131 Main St. as a cooling shelter during its regular hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, church pastor Joe Perkins said that if someone need emergency shelter after those hours to call the church at 913-795-2333 or send a message on Facebook:

Weather outside has been sweltering this week. With temperatures reaching 100 degrees F and heat index readings as high as 122 degrees, work and play outside in many places has come to a stop. The forecast for the rest of the week calls for temperatures to remain near or above 100 degrees with a cool down beginning Saturday with a high of 90 degrees followed by 80 degrees on Sunday.

The Pleasanton City Council on Monday voted to open the Pleasanton Community Center, 819 Main St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the rest of this week.

In addition to the community center being open, Mathew Young, pastor at the Faith Chapel Assembly of God Church, 1103 E. Seventh St. in Pleasanton, said during the Pleasanton council meeting that his church would be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the remainder of the week.

The city of La Cygne will be opening up the La Cygne Community Building at 204 Commercial St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Tuesday, Aug. 22, through Friday, Aug. 25. Those who plan to stay at the building should check in at City Hall next door.

City officials suggest bringing bottles of water, non-perishable food, portable chairs or blankets to sit on. Also suggested are cell phones, chargers and headphones; entertainment such as magazines, puzzles and pencils; disposable cups and plates; and supplies for infants.

The rules for the building include no pets allowed and the sound on games must be turned off or the headphones worn.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has reported a spike in emergency room visits across the state since the latest heat wave has settled in. (KDHE)

The National Weather Service lists several types of people that can be particularly affected by the heat, including newborns, young children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses. Of particular concern are the elderly or those with chronic illnesses who may live alone and have limited mobility.

If you know of someone who is elderly or sick and lives without air conditioning, be sure to check on them or offer to take them to a cooling center.

Except for temporary problems with cooling systems at a couple of schools (now repaired) Jayhawk USD 346 and Prairie View USD 362 have remained in session since beginning last week. Pleasanton USD 344 is expected to begin school on Wednesday as scheduled.

Athletic practice schedules have been altered, however.

Mark Hough, athletic director for Prairie View said that outdoor practices for both football and cross country are being conducted before school until the heat subsides. He said the school is closely following the recommendation of the Kansas State High School Athletic Association (KSHSAA) guidelines.

Kirk Holt, athletic director for Jayhawk-Linn High School, said that practices there have been changed from after school to mornings or later in the evening, depending on the sport.

Tara Carpenter, athletic director for Pleasanton High School, said that the school’s cross-country team had already been practicing in the morning, but beginning on Tuesday the football team started its practice from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Last week the PHS football team moved practice back from after school to 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Monday evening, however, the wet globe bulb thermometer was too high, and the practice was moved into the gym.

All three schools are using a wet bulb globe thermometer (WBGT) to determine if conditions are safe for outdoor practice. The wet bulb device uses a combination of readings of air temperature, relative humidity, direct sunshine and wind speed to determine if it is safe for students to be on the practice field. A reading as low as 90 degrees can indicate it is safest to stop practicing outside immediately.

KSHSAA has distributed WBGT devices to schools to help stem the collapse of athletes during vigorous practices on hot days. Earlier this summer, a football player for MidAmerica Nazarene University died after a heat-related incident.

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