Thurston County Declares Hazardous Weather Event, Opens Cooling Shelters for Mid-Summer Heat Wave


Thurston County declared a three-day, three-night hazardous weather event on July 25 leading up to the Puget Sound’s mid-summer heat wave. 

Thurston County health officials urged people to be prepared for the high temperatures, which could climb into the high 90s in Yelm and the surrounding areas.

“This extreme weather is dangerous for those without shelter,” stated a news release from the county. 

Yelm and the greater Puget Sound areas can expect 90-plus degree weather over the course of the week. Temperatures were expected to reach 90 degrees on Monday, July 25, and were expected to increase as the week progressed. 

The Yelm area was forecast to reach a high of 96 degrees on Tuesday, July 26, and remain in the 90s until Friday, July 29. 

Temperatures are expected to cool over the weekend, as they dip into the mid-to-high 80s.  

“It’s going to be hot the rest of the week. We’re expecting temps in the mid 90s,” said Mary Butwin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle. “Lows will be the big question mark of the week, however. We expect the low temperatures to come overnight between low to high 60s.”

Butwin wants residents to be mindful of the overnight temperature and noted it could change depending on a person’s location. She reminds citizens to practice good hydration throughout the heat wave and to seek out air conditioning if they are able. Butwin also added that avoiding direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day is important.  

Recreational users of rivers and lakes should be mindful while cooling off in the water, Butwin said.  While temperatures may be hot, the temperatures of different bodies of water can still be pretty cold. 

In preparation for the heat wave, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services released a list of cooling centers that will operate in the area. 

The Yelm Timberland Library, at 210 Prairie Park St. SE, will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 and Friday, July 29, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. People can call 360-458-3374 for more information.

The Rainier Senior Center, at 108 Michigan St. S., will be open as needed throughout the week. For more information, call 360-446-2258. 

The Tenino Timberland Library at 172 Central Ave. W. will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. To learn more, call 360-539-3329.

In Bucoda, residents of the town can utilize the Bucoda Community Center at 202 S. Main St. It will be open as needed throughout the week. Call 360-278-3525 for more information. 

There will also be cooling centers open in Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater. 


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