You might not be able to cook an egg on the asphalt, but Central Virginia should prepare for a hot spell beginning Friday as temperatures are expected to rise into the triple digits with even higher heat indices.
To prepare, cooling centers throughout the region opened Thursday to offer respite from the oppressive heat, and other agencies sounded the alarm about the importance of staying hydrated and indoors.
At the cooling centers, community members can drink water and take a break in an air-conditioned space. Charlottesville designated Key and Tonsler recreation centers and the Central Branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library as cooling centers Wednesday. They’ll be open until further notice, but hours vary at different locations.
On Thursday, Greene and Louisa counties announced the location of several cooling centers that will remain open until further notice.
At the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, nearly 50 of the jail’s 450 inmates were dealing with air conditioning problems, Superintendent Martin Kumar told Daily Progress news partner NBC 29. Kumar said inmates have access to water in their cells and that staff members were handing out ice, in addition to other measures.
A heat advisory will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. The National Weather Service warns that the high temperatures and humidity could cause heat stress or heat stroke. Area hospitals already have begun treating people for heat-related illnesses.
In the last few days, the University of Virginia Medical Center has admitted one to two people a day for dehydration or heat exposure-related illnesses, a spokesman said Thursday.
During a heat wave, an individual’s body temperature may rise faster than sweat can cool it off, causing damage to the brain and other organs, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
Officials and the Weather Service encourage folks to drink lots of water and wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Outdoor activity should be limited to the early morning or evening.
The high temperatures will stick around Saturday and Sunday.
Drivers are advised to check their car battery, fluid and tires, which can experience adverse effects from the heat.
“When temperatures soar, what should just be an inconvenience can quickly escalate to an emergency if motorists are not prepared,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tammy Arnette said in a news release.
AAA suggests that drivers create a summer safety kit with a fully charged cellphone, jumper cables, road flares, flashlight and extra batteries, first-aid kit, as well as extra water, snacks and medications.
The Greene County Office Building will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. In Louisa, the Betty Queen Intergenerational Center, at 522 Industrial Drive, will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The Louisa branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, at 881 Davis Highway, will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Some churches in Louisa also have offered to serve as cooling stations.
Louisa County Fire and EMS is reminding people that temperatures within vehicles can quickly reach or exceed 150 degrees.
“Please, NEVER leave children or pets in your vehicles,” Louisa officials said in an announcement about cooling shelters.
Much of the eastern United States will be baking along with Central Virginia. The heat wave is expected to dissipate by Monday following the arrival of showers and thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.