Summer heat is here to stay

Published 8:33 am Friday, July 5, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Summer days are getting hotter worldwide, and Jessamine County is, too. 


According to, a site that offers climate data from peer-reviewed research, hot days with health caution are about 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The site considers dangerous days to be those above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Email newsletter signup


Thirty years ago, Jessamine County (including Wilmore and Nicholasville) had about 33 health caution days and three dangerous days a year. This year, the county is slated to have about 46 health caution days and 12 dangerous days yearly.


In 30 years, those numbers will jump to 53 health caution days and 27 dangerous days.


“With increasing average temperatures, dangerously hot days and heatwaves may occur more often. Temperatures exceeding 90ºF can be physically hazardous for high-risk individuals. When temperatures exceed 100ºF it can be dangerous for everyone,” reads a clarification from


Jessamine County is slated to have 126 days above 80 degrees Fahrenheit this year and 140 days above 80 degrees in 30 years. 80-degree-day health risks include a Medium risk for fatigue and dehydration and a low risk for cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and death.


Jessamine County is estimated to have 58 days above 90 degrees this year and 80 days above 90 degrees in 30 years. 90-degree-day health risks include a high risk of fatigue and dehydration, a medium risk for cramps and heat exhaustion, and a low risk of heat stroke and death.


For the 12 days that Jessamine County will likely have heat over 100 degrees, individuals have a high risk of fatigue and dehydration, cramps and heat exhaustion, medium risk for heat stroke, and low risk of death. 


When asked if the county has any plans for a cooling center, Jessamine County Judge-Executive David West said there are none, but there are options in place. West said the county would open the Blue Building at City-County Park for a cooling center if needed. The Blue Building also has emergency cots. 


“The county is not opening up a cooling center this year for now. Most counties around us in the state, like us, don’t have the resources to open and maintain it. Most cooling centers are open and run by [local organizers] and churches,” said Jessamine County Emergency Management Agency Director Johnny Adams. 


The Jessamine County Homeless Coalition Director Johnny Templin, mentioned to Adams that he may open up the new Center for Growth and Hope on Main Street if it gets dangerously hot. Johnny stated he would check in with local organizers to see if anyone would offer space for community cooling when needed. “I need to reach out and find out from our religious affiliates because really last week has been the hottest,” Adams said. 


“Typically when we used to open the facility, no one would come. Many people would rather stay with their families, and a lot of our homeless population, and the reason they’re not showing up is because they don’t want to acclimate to the heat, come into the AC, and then have to go back out into the heat,” Adams said, noting it’s something he understands well as a career firefighter. 


However, if there were an issue like a large-scale power outage where people lost air conditioning and power for fans, “then we’ll open a cooling center at the Big Blue Building. If that’s not sufficient, if it turns into hours and hours of a power outage, we’ll just turn it into a shelter,” Adams said.


Judge West and Adams mentioned several resources around the county where people can find solace from the sun and heat. The first resource is the county’s Emergency Medical Agency, which Judge West said will help anyone who “appears to be in distress.”


The Jessamine County Senior Center at 111 Hoover Drive is also open  every day. It is open to all elderly adults and provides a cool place to socialize and eat. 


The new splash pad at Lake Mingo Park at 216 Lakeview Drive in Nicholasville is free and a place to cool down. He also mentioned the Jessamine County Public Library (JCPL) at 600 South Main Street, which is open from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Wilmore’s JCPL+ is located at the Wilmore Municipal Center at 210 S Lexington Avenue. Wilmore’s library is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. 


In terms of burn bans to prevent spreading fires, Adams said no burn ban is in place yet but that things may get drier soon this summer. A burn ban would go through the Fire Department and be approved by Judge David West. 


“Everything is greenish. Unless we know we’ll have a dry spell, or if the National Weather Service notified us of a drought, then we don’t [establish a burn ban],” Adams said. 


Jessamine County Animal Care and Control and the Jessamine County Health Department posted reminders on their Facebook pages regarding what we can’t do in this heat. 


Based on the following facts, Animal Care and Control reminds pet owners they should never leave their pets in the car.


A car can overheat even if the windows have been left open an inch or two. Young, overweight or elderly animals, or those with short muzzles or thick or dark-colored coats are most at risk of overheating. Shady spots do not offer protection on hot days as the shade moves with the sun.


Even if the temperature is 70 degrees outside, your car can get as much as 20 degrees hotter, then reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit inside. On an 85-degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees. Within 20 minutes, the car’s interior can climb from 85 degrees to “a scorching” 120 degrees. 


This summer, Jessamine County Sheriff Kevin Grimes has already found one dog unaccompanied in a hot car. Thankfully, the owner was located, and the dog was safe. 


Sheriff Grimes said that if you think it’s not too hot for your pet in the car, get into the car after having it sit out on a hot day for around thirty minutes and don’t turn on your car or your air conditioning. It’s an uncomfortable experience. It can be hard to breathe. 


Kentucky has a statute prohibiting leaving an animal unattended in a motor vehicle under dangerous conditions, such as hot days. Your car could be damaged, or you could be charged with a crime. 


If you see an animal or a child in a car on a hot day, try to locate the owner or call 911. 


The Health Department posted a reminder to never leave your child alone in a vehicle and to always check the back seat, as parents sometimes forget their quiet child in the seat behind them.