Cooling stations are ready during major heat wave

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BELOIT - The National Weather Service is forecasting extremely hot and humid weather for the rest of the week into the weekend, and officials in the Stateline Area are taking action to protect vulnerable residents.

The Rock County Sheriff's Office has announced cooling centers from Beloit to Janesville and across the county, establishing places where citizens can get out of the heat and cool off. Residents are responsible for their own food, water and belongings, according to the sheriff's office.

In Beloit, Grinnell Senior Center, 631 Bluff St., Beloit Memorial Hospital, 1969 W. Hart Road, Beloit Public Library, 60 Eclipse Blvd., and the Salvation Army, 628 Broad St., have been designated.

The sheriff's office urges residents to take extra precautions this week against the heat. Those most at risk of heat-related injuries are children, older adults and those living with chronic physical or mental health conditions.

General heat exhaustion symptoms include fainting, rash, fatigue and nausea. Skin can become clammy and moist, or hot and dry. Heat stroke can come on rapidly and may progress to life-threatening illness within minutes. If heat-related symptoms appear, action should be taken immediately to reduce body temperature. This includes taking a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. Wearing wet clothing also has a cooling effect.

Officials urge common sense precautions to avoid issues with the heat, including small children and animals should never be left in parked vehicles; drink plenty of water; wear light-weight and light-colored clothing; take frequent breaks from an outdoor activity and check on family and friends.

"We are most concerned with the elderly and those with breathing problems," said South Beloit Fire Chief Mike Davenport. "The humidity can affect their breathing and we stress that people stick together and check in on any neighbors you might have that are older or sick."

The heat could also take its toll on firefighters, if called upon to battle a blaze, Davenport said.

"We have to limit the time they can work," he added. "We have to make sure everyone is hydrated properly. We watch them very closely."

A full list of cooling centers is available on the Rock County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

In Winnebago County, cooling centers are available in Rockford at The Carpenter's Place, 1149 Railroad Ave., Rockford Rescue Mission, 715 W. State St. and the Women's Crisis Center, 715 W. State St. Other sites are available in Machesney Park, Pecatonica and in Boone County, according to a City of Rockford news release.

The summer heat is causing pavement buckling issues in the area, with construction crews repairing sections of the left lane of I-39/90 northbound at mile marker 185. In Beloit, public works staff repaired a pavement buckle in the 1100 block of Broad Street.

Today highs will reach the low 90s with heat index readings reaching 100. Southeast winds will be at 5 mph. Low temperatures tonight will be around 75 degrees.

Thursday's high temperature will be about 95 degrees with heat index readings around 100 degrees with a 20% chance of rain in the morning. Lows Thursday night will be around 80 degrees.

Friday temperatures will soar to around 99 degrees with heat index readings near 106. Lows Friday night will be around 75 degrees.

Saturday's high temperature will be around 95 degrees with a 40% chance of rain. Lows Saturday night will be around 70 degrees.

Sunday will bring a high of around 90 degrees with a low Sunday night around 65. There is a 40 percent chance of rain.

Monday will be cooler with highs in the low 80s and low temperatures Monday night around 60.

Tuesday's high will be around 84 and lows Tuesday night will be around 60.

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