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Whidbey Islanders deplete store stocks of cooling items
Oak Harbor is suffering through another round of hot weather today, with triple-digit temperatures hitting everywhere in Western Washington.
Accuweather.com said Oak Harbor will see sunny skies and a high today of 86 degrees by 3 p.m. However, the automated weather unit at Oak Harbor Airport pegged the temperature at 34 degrees Celsius, or 93.2 Fahrenheit.
Local department store employees say they have run out of hot-weather items like pools, fans and air conditioners. Home Depot service desk associate Amanda Hicks said she's put in calls to K-Mart, Walmart and Ace Hardware to track down fans, but to no avail.
"People are asking us for kiddie pools but we don't carry that kind of stuff. If they're trying Home Depot, you know they've exasperated everything else," Hicks said.
Jeannette Kaylar of Ace Hardware said they expect a shipment of kiddie pools tomorrow. Home Depot is currently having a sale on patio furniture and umbrellas.
To keep people safe during this heat wave, the Department of Emergency Management is opening cooling centers across Island County.
There are currently six centers open to the public, which are only intended for getting out of the heat.
Oak Harbor resident Sue Barley rushed her two cats, Raoul and Skeezix, to a cooling area at the Oak Harbor Senior Center this morning, after they suffered from heat stroke.
"The heat got Raoul last night," Barley said, of her 22-pound cat. "His eyes rolled back into his head. In desperation I put him in the bathtub but he freaked out."
Although the Senior Center had never allowed animals into the building, they agreed to let Barley bring them in a carrier.
"I have major health problems myself and don't do well in the heat, so this is a mutual deal," she said.
The six cooling centers include:
The Oak Harbor Senior Center, 51 SE Jerome St., Oak Harbor. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Commissioners' Hearing Room, 1 NE Sixth St., Coupeville. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Bayview Senior Center, 14594 Highway 525, Bayview. Hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Camano Commons above the Camano Branch Library at 848 S. Sunrise Blvd., Suite 204, Camano Island. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Freeland Library at 5495 Harbor Ave., Freeland. Hours of operation are from 11:00 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
The Oak Harbor Library at 1000 SE Regatta Dr., Oak Harbor. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday.
The department reminds people to bring their own beverages (non-alcoholic) and snacks for consumption, along with cards or a book to read while cooling off.
For additional weather safety, Trish Rose of Whidbey General Hospital recommends people drink a lot of water and other clear beverages that don't contain caffeine or alcohol and to wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Avoid extended periods of sun exposure and walking long distances.