No cooling stations yet

LA CROSSE, Wis. — Temperatures may be rising, but the La Crosse County Health Department is not setting up any special cooling shelters for people looking to escape the heat. Despite it being really hot out there, county and hospital officials say things are surprisingly status quo.

There haven’t been a lot of heat-related illnesses reported. There haven’t been any major power outages knocking out people’s air conditioning.

But if those things change, La Crosse County is prepared to act. The Health Department is collaborating with the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and local hospitals to keep an eye on the needs of the community. But so far, they just don’t think it’s necessary.

“Interestingly enough, through today, really there hadn’t been a significant increase– and I’m saying less than five– heat-related events or incidences that we were made aware of,” said La Crosse Co. Health Department’s Al Graewin.


During the day you can come to public air-conditioned places like the library or the mall. But if you’re looking for someplace to stay overnight, your options are more limited.

“We don’t have options overnight for folks because there’s no place to go to. If there’s a relative, or a friend, or a neighbor, if they’re really in distress they can go there. But otherwise there are no other options,” said Graewin.

“Right now we’re really full. We have a good 80 people in the shelter, which is very high for us. And so I’m sure the heat is a factor in that, people needing a place to go and get inside. So we are doing everything we can to get people inside, especially in this extreme weather, and especially families, but it’s getting to be pretty tough,” said The Salvation Army spokesperson Julie Nelson.

If you do have to stay overnight in an un-air conditioned home, the Health Department recommends you keep your shades drawn, turn your fans on, and take cold showers.

The La Crosse County Health Department is currently working with three sites which will open up if they decide there is a need. 

If you need a place to go call 211 from your landline or 1-800-362-8255 if you have a cell phone from outside of La Crosse. Those are also the numbers you can call to find out where those cooling shelters are if they do open up.