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Cool solutions for summer heat

Hope the unseasonably cool temperatures last week didn’t encourage you to delay any needed repairs to your air conditioner — we have a feeling you’re going to need it now and for the rest of the summer.

After several days of near-record nighttime lows, reality has returned — we’re still in North Texas, where the summers are hot and unbearably long.

Part of the reason North Texas was cooler last week was because a high-pressure ridge, which brought high temperatures at the beginning of June, had shifted to the west. Northerly winds could travel all the way to Texas and did, bringing several cool fronts with them in June and the first week of July. The northerly winds also kept the humidity low.

Now, heat and humidity more typical of a North Texas summer have returned, and that’s likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Despite the cool spells of the past five weeks and the cooler-than-normal spring leading up to June, the average temperature for June overall was 1.3 degrees above normal, said Jesse Moore, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, and climatologists predict that Texas will have a hotter-than-normal summer this year.

Thankfully, the Salvation Army in Denton opened its local cooling station recently, continuing an annual service the organization provides to residents seeking refuge from the summer heat. A total of 15 cooling stations across North Texas were opened, including the Denton location at 1508 E. McKinney St.

The centers provide water and relief from the summer heat for the homeless, people without air conditioning and those with outdoor jobs, and they’re open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday during the summer months after temperatures rise above 95 degrees.

For many, the cooling stations can be a lifesaver — literally.

“It’s dangerous,” Denton construction worker Hector Ramirez said of the Texas heat. “I know plenty of guys who’ve passed out from the heat and dehydration. Having a place to cool down and drink some water makes me feel safer.”

Patrick Patey, Salvation Army public affairs manager, said people should drink plenty of water throughout the day when it’s excessively hot. That’s good advice for everyone. June, July and August are the peak months for heat-related deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

If temperatures top the 100-degree mark, Denton’s Immaculate Conception Catholic Church will open the Monsignor King Emergency Outreach Center at 2255 N. Bonnie Brae St., said Tim Thompson, pastor. For more information about Immaculate Conception’s outreach center, call 940-565-1770.

For a list of other Salvation Army cooling stations in North Texas, visit or call 940-566-3800.

The return of the cooling stations isn’t the only good news for many local residents who are forced to fight the heat. Denton County Transportation Authority officials recently commemorated its first new local bus shelter. The shelters, 20 in all, are expected to be a welcome addition at bus stops to provide cover and convenience for DCTA passengers.

Kristina Brevard, marketing and communications manager for DCTA, said there is no timetable on the full installation of all the shelters, but the agency is working with the city of Denton to get them installed as quickly as possible.

That’s good news, and we hope the shelters are completed soon. The protection they provide may not seem that significant when you drive by in an air-conditioned vehicle, but when you’re standing in the Texas heat, any relief from the sun is welcome.