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Watertown locals head to the pool and cool indoors to beat heat

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It is 88 degrees, and the mercury keeps climbing.

The heat wave in New York state this week has left people in Watertown looking for a reprieve from the stifling humidity and scorching temperatures.

About 40 people were at the Thompson Park municipal swimming pool at noon Wednesday.

“It’s terrible,” said Kali E. Waite, Watertown. “It’s one of the hottest summers I’ve been through here.”

Some families had set up blankets in the shade as they watched their children splash in the water and jump off the diving board.

“This is the second time we’ve been here this summer,” said Stacey K. Tatum, Watertown. “Otherwise, we’re trying to stay near the AC.”

She and her husband, Gary Tatum, brought three of their own children and two others to watch her youngest child.

Although the cooling station at the Watertown Municipal Arena at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds had enough space for hundreds of people to beat the heat, only four people sat at a table in the front of the room.

“I thought there would be more people here, but maybe no one knew we were here,” said Alex F. Hahn, summer Parks and Recreation employee.

They sat in front of a table full of board games such as Monopoly and Clue as well as a variety of craft supplies.

Adriana C. Spicer, who works in the building, said she saw four children who normally play in the building’s recreation center before the city pool opened next door.

“It’s really hot in the rec center,” she said. “We’re just hanging out and staying cool.”

Richard H. Feistel, another recreation room employee, joked that he is “actually starting to feel cold.”

The cooling centers at the municipal arena and City Hall will be open for the public again from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. However, the heat wave is going to last only a few more days, according to the National Weather Service, Buffalo.

“The humidity is as high as it gets in New York state,” Jonathan P. Hitchcock said Wednesday. “It looks like we have two more days, Thursday and Friday, to deal with it, then a cold front will come through Saturday.”

He said temperatures will swing back up next week, but it will not be as hot as this week. Wednesday’s high in Watertown was 88 degrees, 8 degrees higher than the average for this time of year.

“Tuesday’s was 89 degrees, and we actually hit a record high,” Mr. Hitchcock said.

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