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Posted on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Heat advisory: Health department offers cooling centers in Ann Arbor area

By Amy Biolchini

With a heat advisory in effect from noon Tuesday to midnight Wednesday, Washtenaw County Public Health has announced areas where the public can cool off in air-conditioned spaces.

Temperatures are expected to top out at 91 degrees Tuesday and 90 degrees Wednesday, while the heat index, a measure of how hot it feels, is expected to reach 100 or above both days.


A shady spot and a cool treat can help beat the heat when temperatures soar. Here, Ann Arbor residents Richard Gu, right, and Anthony Yu laugh while they talk and enjoy ice cream in the shade at Washtenaw Dairy, 602 S. Ashley St., in this file photo.

Jeffrey Smith |

“Cooling off — even briefly — may help prevent heat-related illness,” said Cindra James, the county’s Emergency Preparedness Administrator for Public Health.

Health officials are encouraging people to stay hydrated, to know the warning signs of heat-related illness and to take steps to cool off whenever possible.

The Michigan Department of Community Health lists three stages of heat-related illness:

  1. Dehydration: Symptoms include dry mouth, thirst, headache, dizziness, cramps, excessive fatigue and irritability
  2. Heat exhaustion: Occurs when people exercise heavily or work hard in a warm, humid place, causing a lot of bodily fluids to be lost through sweating. This can reduce blood flow to vital organs and can result in shock.
  3. Heat stroke (sunstroke): This is the most severe stage and can be deadly. Symptoms include vomiting, decreased alertness or loss of consciousness, high body temperature and red, hot and dry skin with a rapid, weak pulse.

Should a person progress to the heat stroke stage, MDCH advises calling 911 and cooling the individual down by putting him or her in a tub of cool water or rinsing the person with a garden hose.

People who may be more vulnerable to the heat include the elderly, infants, children and people with underlying health conditions or whose medication makes them more sensitive to heat.

The following area organizations are offering their air-conditioned spaces as cooling centers during regular business hours during the heat advisory:

Ann Arbor

  • Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave.; (734) 327-4241
  • Bryant Community Center, 3 W. Eden Ct.; (734-477-0292
  • Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County; 4925 Packard Road; (734-) 971-9781
  • Child Care Network, 2385 S. Huron Parkway, Suite 2N; (734) 975-1840
  • City of Ann Arbor Housing Commission, 727 Miller Ave. and Baker Commons, 106 Packard; (734) 994-2828
  • First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor; 4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd.; (734) 665-6158
  • Office of Community and Economic Development, 110 N. Fourth Ave., Ste 300; (734) 622-9005
  • The Salvation Army, 100 Arbana Drive; (734) 668-8353
  • Zion Lutheran Church, 1501 W. Liberty St.; (734) 994-4455


  • Chelsea Retirement Community, 805 W. Middle; (734) 475-8633

Pittsfield Township

  • Whitehall Healthcare Center of Ann Arbor, 3370 E. Morgan Road; (734) 971-3230


  • Hope Medical Clinic, 518 Harriet St.; (734) 481-0111
  • Washtenaw County Human Services building, 555 Towner St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Washtenaw County has a special Heatwave Community Response Plan in place to respond to severe heat events, but it has not been activated at this time.

That plan, which calls for opening public cooling centers for extended hours and offering emergency transportation, will only be put in to effect if a heat advisory from the National Weather Service is in effect for multiple days, if an excessive heat warning is issued or if there is a widespread loss of power.

The health department continues to monitor reports of heat-related illness. For updates on the latest advisories, the department advises visiting its website or calling 211.

For updated forecasts and conditions anytime, check's weather page.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 2:52 a.m.

Have not been in A2 in several years and knew immediately that this picture was taken outside of the best ice cream store in the land! Went to Washtenaw Dairy all the time as a kid and heard many stories from my mother about how she used enjoy the same ice cream when cones were a nickel! Mom went to Perry school and lived in 4 different rental homes on the same street during depression years.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

Update: The heat advisory has been extended to midnight Thursday. As of Tuesday afternoon, the county has not triggered the implementation of its Heatwave Community Response Plan.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

To everyone who opened up the cooling centers, a hearty thank you!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

Maybe its not so bad that Ypsi banned the road hoops... like was said above, maybe it will lead to some reading in the library.

Bertha Venation

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

We can tell it's Washtenaw Dairy because of the unique wall with all those goodies behind it!

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

I like the way this article is about "cooling centers" and has a picture of Washtenaw Dairy. Definitely one of my favorite "cooling centers."


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:10 p.m.

Yep, me too. stock up on the Lemon Custard! YUM!

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

... and the library, first on your list, is another. It's a great day (week, rather) to sit in the cool library and read a book.