Madison cooling centers open until noon Sunday

Monona Terrace is busiest site
Madison cooling centers open until noon Sunday

Madison officials announced at least one of the city’s cooling centers will be open until Sunday, as the second-longest heat wave in southern Wisconsin history continued to bake the city.

The Salvation Army of Dane County, which is providing food to the two shelters, had served more than 1,000 meals by Friday night, Maj. Loren Carter said.

The volunteer response will continue as long as the shelter is open, despite a lack of funding for the emergency response, Carter said.

“Our shelter is full — even our overflow shelter is full,” he said as he served meatball sandwiches to needy residents. “We turned away people last night where we didn’t have enough room. It’s been very busy.”

City officials said the shelters at the Madison Senior Center and Warner Park will close at 12 p.m. Saturday, and that the Monona Terrace cooling center would reopen until Sunday. Buses will continue to transport people needing relief to the shelters.

The Red Cross provided cots and waters, but the organization had run out of supplies Friday afternoon, city officials said. Dane County Emergency Management is working to get more blankets, they said.

City officials urge people who come to the cooling centers to only bring necessities, especially medications and medical equipment, due to minimal space.


Pets are not allowed, they added.

As of noon Friday, the Senior Center’s cooling center had about 100 people, although the shelter appeared “really cramped,” said Carter of the Salvation Army.

They said the Monona Terrace has been the busiest cooling center. More than 100 people stayed there Thursday night. The cooling center at Warner Park attracted only 16 people Thursday night.

The shelter visitors included many transients who faced a major dilemma, often without a place to stay in the summer and suffering through record-breaking weather, Carter said.

Madison has recorded seven straight days of 95-degree temperatures, and broke 100 degrees for three days this week, WISC-TV reported.

The Salvation Army is kicking off its Summer Red Kettle Campaign during the heat wave, encouraging volunteers to take one- or two-hour shifts to raise money for its programs, including the shelter food service.

Virginia Ruland of Madison was ringing a Green Bay Packers-festooned bell Friday afternoon at the Copp’s store in Monona.

“I enjoy seeing the people and everyone is so nice,” she said. “You get a lot of ‘God bless you, thank for doing this,’ and it just makes you feel good.”

Columbia County closed two centers today, and the one at Portage High School closed earlier in the week.

Only one person was using the cooling shelter in Sauk County that shut down. That person had air conditioning at home, but didn’t want to use it.