Heat Wave Tips From Readers: Cold Showers, Splash Parks, Wet Towels

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The sun shines over towers carrying electical lines Aug. 30, 2007, in South San Francisco.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sweltering, record-breaking heat is reaching its peak throughout the Bay Area Monday.

The National Weather Service says temperatures throughout the region are around 95 to 105 degrees.

Bay Area residents are dealing with the extreme heat in a number of ways — some ideas are practical and other hacks are more creative.

Gretchen Grathwohl, who lives in Oakland, doesn't have air conditioning.

"I don't think it's ever been this hot in my daughter's life," she says. Grathwohl's strategy for keeping her 2-year-old cool involves going to a splash park, which opened early, in neighboring Hayward.

KQED asked Reddit for pro tips on dealing with the scorching temperatures.

Reddit user Skyshadow42 suggests buying a "bare-bones window AC unit" for extreme heat days. Another user, Weedwacking, says taking a "mid day cold bath/shower" works wonders.

KQED also received more life hacks on Facebook. Lora Torgessen-Condon from Oakland says she lays out a wet hand towel in the freezer and spreads it over her torso at night while keeping the fan going.

Officials across the Bay Area are urging people to check on neighbors, and are publishing lists of libraries and other shelters for those looking to cool down:

San Francisco

Public Knowledge Branch at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St.
The following San Francisco Public Library branches: Main Library, Chinatown (program rooms only), Glen Park (program rooms only), Mission Bay (program rooms only) and North Beach (program rooms only)

City and county pools are free to the public Monday and City College of San Francisco has the following locations available:

City College of San Francisco Chinatown North Beach Campus, 808 Kearney St.
City College Ocean Campus, Community Health & Wellness Center, 50 Frida Kahlo Way

The following homeless resource centers are also available:

MSC South Drop-in Center: 525 Fifth St., open daily, 24 hours
Glide Walk-In Center: 330 Ellis St., Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–9 a.m.
Mission Neighborhood Resource Center:165 Capp St., Monday – Friday, 7 a.m.-12 p.m. & 2 p.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-12 p.m.
United Council, 2111 Jennings St., daily, 5 p.m.-9 a.m.

City of Santa Clara

Central Park Library, 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
City Hall Cafeteria, 1500 Warburton Ave., Santa Clara
Community Recreation Center, 969 Kiely Blvd., Santa Clara
Senior Center, 1303 Fremont St., Santa Clara
Northside Branch Library, 695 Moreland Way, Santa Clara
Mission Branch Library, 1098 Lexington St., Santa Clara

More on heat

Contra Costa County

Update: The following three cooling centers serve only the homeless:
GRIP, 165 22nd St., Richmond
Monument Crisis Center, 1990 Market St., Concord
Trinity Center, 1271 S. California Blvd, Walnut Creek


Cannery Park, 125 B St., Hayward
Castro Valley Park Splash Pad, Quail Ave., Castro Valley

Monday's heat advisory will last through 9 p.m. Officials say it's important to limit strenuous outdoor activities and to drink plenty of fluids.

Extreme heat can be dangerous, especially to vulnerable populations. In 2017, 14 people died and hundreds were hospitalized in relation to heat waves. In 2018, KQED collected thousands of points of data from residential homes and from businesses, and found that the region is ill-equipped to combat the effects of a climate-related temperature rise.

San Francisco's Department of Public Health says at least two people have been hospitalized for heat-related illnesses.

This post has been updated.
Sara Hossaini contributed to this report.