Hundreds seek shelter overnight from excessive heat

Cooling centers see more visitors as temperatures break 100
Hundreds seek shelter overnight from excessive heat

As the temperature keeps climbing, so does the number of people seeking shelter in Madison’s cooling centers.

There are cooling centers at Warner Park and at the Monona Terrace location that have cots for 60 people. 

Given the heat, twice as many showed up there Wednesday and officials say by nightfall, the number will climb even higher.

The officials at the cooling center also couldn’t remember the last time Madison opened one.

Jessica Jasper can’t either. “I don’t ever recall it ever being this hot,” said Jasper.

She’ll take what she can get, given she’s about to give birth. “I’m due on Tuesday and I’ve already had false labor,” she said.

The 30-year-old and her three other kids are homeless and bounce between shelters, but prefer the Terrace’s TVs, cots and friendly faces. 

On Tuesday, there were 60 people inside the center. By Wednesday, officials say the number was twice that and overnight could be closer to 200. 

Outside, college kids are getting creative. No shirt, no shoes, just a cold drink, ready to sink into their front yard pool.

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“It’s Wisconsin. You have to relish the heat when we have it,” explained Lisa Gilbertson. 

Lisa and husband Phil are just some of the people packing Memorial Union where a breeze is what’s helping beat the heat.

“If you’re in the shade, it’s great and it’s not bad out here at all, really,” said Gilbertson.

The cooling centers will be open through Friday; that’s as long as the region is under a heat advisory.

Officials said there is food and water and Madison Metro is providing free rides to both the Monona Terrace and Warner Park locations.

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