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What you should know about the dangerous heat wave this week in Eastern Iowa

Public cooling centers, pools, splash pads and more offer relief

Zak Drahozal of Cedar Rapids fishes as the midday sun is obscured by clouds at Prairie Park Fishery in Cedar Rapids on Monday, July 16, 2019. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Zak Drahozal of Cedar Rapids fishes as the midday sun is obscured by clouds at Prairie Park Fishery in Cedar Rapids on Monday, July 16, 2019. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s going to be dangerously hot this week in Eastern Iowa.

An excessive heat warning is in effect from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday evening in Linn and Johnson counties, according to the National Weather Service, in addition to warnings and watches are across the state. The heat will begin to build to dangerous levels Thursday, combining with humidity to reach heat index values between 100 to 110 degrees.


Temperatures this high can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion, warns Caitlin Pedati, Iowa Department of Public Health medical director.

“When we know we’re expecting warm weather, you want to avoid being outside, especially in the hottest period of the day and limit outdoor activities at that time,” Pedati said.

What does heat exhaustion look like?

Signs of heat exhaustion include feeling dehydrated or warm, then progresses to tiredness, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting. Pedati said at that point it is important to move to a cool place and use cool, wet cloths to cool down. If symptoms continue to worsen or last more than an hour, seek medical attention immediately, Pedati said.

Heat stroke can occur when the body is 103 degrees or warmer and will cause dizziness, headaches, nausea and confusion.

People 65 years old and older, children or people with chronic health problems are more sensitive to heat. Pedati said they should consider staying inside during an excessive heat wave and stay hydrated.

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“You have friends or neighbors you might want to check on or have people check on you if you fall into that category,” Pedati said.

A good indicator of hydration is if you’re going to the bathroom regularly and have almost-clear urine, Pedati said.

Heat stroke can affect pets, too

If heat is intolerable for people, it’s also intolerable for animals, said Dr. Marty Webber, veterinarian at the Cedar Rapids Animal Hospital.

Outdoor animals should be brought inside, if possible. If not possible, they need access to shade, shelter and plenty of clean, fresh water, Webber said.

As for walks, if it’s too hot for a person to place their hand or bare foot on the pavement for a few seconds, it’s too hot for paws, Webber said.

Dog breeds such as bulldogs and pugs are especially prone to heat stroke because of their breathing problems and should only be walked in the early morning or late evening, Webber said. If a dog doesn’t have a history of a lot of exercise, now is not the time to begin a new exercise regime, he said.

Signs of heat exhaustion in pets include panting or being unable to catch their breath. In severe cases, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can cause extreme lethargy or seizures.

If a pet owner does see those signs, they should seek veterinary care immediately, and they can begin cooling down their pet with a water hose.

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“You don’t typically want to draw them a bath of ice because you want to bring down their temperature at a slower, steadier pace,” Webber said.

Animals should not at any point be left in a hot car. If an animal does need to be left in a car for any reason, Webber said to lock the doors and leave the air conditioning running.

Where to keep cool in the Cedar Rapids area

Eastern Iowans can beat the heat by taking advantage of public pools, splash pads and public air-conditioning.

Heat relief locations: Heat relief locations in Cedar Rapids include the Cedar Rapids Public Library downtown at 450 Fifth Avenue SE. The library is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Ladd Library at 3750 Williams Blvd. SW is also available for heat relief. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

In Marion, the Marion Public Library at 1095 Sixth Ave. is open 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

In Hiawatha, the Hiawatha Library at 150 W. Willman St. is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Splash pads: Splash pads are in 11 locations in Cedar Rapids. Water runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 7 at the following locations:

• Cedar Valley Park at 2250 Blakely Blvd. E

• Cleveland Park at 1600 Eighth Ave. SW

• Daniels Park at 940 Oakland Road NE

• Greene Square at 400 Fourth Ave. SE

• Hayes Park at 1924 D St. SW

• Hidder Park at 10th Street and 14th Avenue SE

• Jacolyn Park at Jacolyn Drive and Gordon Avenue NW

• Noelridge Park at 4900 Council St. NE

• Redmond Park at Third Avenue and 16th Street SE

• Time Check Park at Fifth Street and J Avenue NW

• Twin Pines Park at 3500 42nd St. NE.

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Public pools: Cedar Rapids pool hours vary each day. For a schedule, visit the city’s website at cedar-rapids.org/residents/parks_and_recreation/municipal_pools.php

• Noelridge Aquatic Center at 1248 42nd St. NE

• Ellis Pool at 2000 Ellis Blvd. NW

• Cherry Hill at 341 Stoney Point Road NW

• Bever Pool at 2700 Bever Ave. SE

• Jones Pool at 201 Wilson Avenue Drive SW

Bender Pool, 940 14th Avenue SE, is closing Friday at 3 p.m. for construction and will not reopen until Sept. 3.

Places to beat the heat in Iowa City

Public cooling facilities: The Iowa City Public Library, Senior Center and recreation facilities are available to those seeking to get out of the heat.

The library, 123 South Linn St., is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Senior Center, 28 South Linn St., is open to the public 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert St., is open Monday through Friday from 6:15 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Mercer Park Aquatic Center, 2701 Bradford Drive, offers similar amenities and is open 6:15 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Public pools: Swim hours vary at Iowa City’s public pools. For more information, visit the city’s website at icgov.org/pools.

City Park Pool at 200 Park Road

Robert A. Lee Pool at 220 Gilbert St.

Mercer Park Aquatic Center at 2701 Bradford Drive.

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Splash and spray pads: Facilities are open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

• Wetherby Park at 2400 Taylor Drive

Fairmeadows Park at 2500 Miami Drive

Tower Court Park at 1124 Tower Court

l Comments: (319) 368-8664; grace.king@thegazette.com

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