INDIANAPOLIS — A Heat Advisory has been elevated to an Excessive Heat Warning for virtually all of central Indiana Tuesday, and the city of Indianapolis is encouraging residents to stay cool with a variety of resources.

The warning is in effect from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. After that, the threat dips slightly to a Heat Advisory until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The high in Tuesday’s forecast is 95 degrees in Indianapolis, but the heat index value is expected to reach 106 — meaning it will feel like it’s 106 degrees.

Tuesday is also a Knozone Action Day in Indianapolis, per a recommendation from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) following concerns about high ozone levels amidst this week’s heat.

“The heat is oppressive,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “If you must be outside, stay shaded. Stay  hydrated.”

Resources available

Cooling centers are available at no fee. People in Indianapolis have several options:

  • More than 20 branches of the Indianapolis Public Library
  • Family centers and other indoor facilities at Indy Parks
  • Indy Parks swimming pools

“Our 11 family centers will offer programs and activities in air conditioned spaces Monday through Saturday at various times,” said Indy Parks director Phyllis Boyd.

Right now, the city has opened six pools for residents to enjoy, including the following:

  • Bethel Park
  • Frederick Douglass Park
  • Garfield Park
  • Perry Park
  • Thatcher Park
  • Willard Park

During a press conference Tuesday morning, Indy Parks staff cited maintenance issues and labor shortages with hiring lifeguards, as the reason they have not been able to open additional facilities at this time.

“Our ultimate goal, we have 17 that we’d hope to open. Staffing shortages is getting in the way of that,” said Kimberly Campbell, deputy director of operations and programs for Indy Parks.

“We’re working diligently to make sure we can at least get a few more pools open this season,” Campbell added.

City pools are open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thatcher Park Pool is the only facility currently open that does not operate on Sundays.

It’s not too late to get your free pool passes, which are valid all summer long. To register, adults have to show proof of residency like a utility bill, rent or mortgage statement, school enrollment materials, a driver’s license or similar items.

You can read more about where to pick those up, fees for non-Marion County residents and where to apply for open positions, on Indy Parks’ website.

In addition to the city parks, splash pads are free to the public and open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the exception of several, which do not open until 10 a.m. daily.

“Accessing these amenities, really on a day like today, is a lifesaver,” said Boyd.

The following splash pads are open every day at 8 a.m.:

  • Bel Aire Park: 2901 W Mooresville Rd.
  • Bertha Ross Park: 3700 N Clifton Ave.
  • Carson Park: 5400 S High School Rd.
  • Christian Park: 4200 English Ave.
  • Clayton LaSalle: 401 S LaSalle St.
  • Grassy Creek:10510 E 30th St.
  • Haughville Park: 520 N Belleview Pl.
  • Holliday Park: 6363 Spring Mill Dr.
  • Jake Greene Park: 1700 Franklin Rd.
  • Municipal Gardens: 1831 N Lafayette Rd.
  • Riverwood Park: 7201 Crittenden Ave.
  • Stout Field Park: 3820 W Bradbury Rd.
  • Wes Montgomery: 3400 N Hawthorne Ln.
  • Wildwood Park: 8100 Southeastern Ave.
  • Willard Park: 1901 Washington St.

The following are open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.:

  • Arsenal Park: 1400 E 46th St.
  • Windsor Village: 6510 E 25th St.

Families at Arsenal Park on Tuesday said they were glad to find ways to beat the heat as temperatures continued to rise.

“It’s nice just to have this so close to home,” said Jonathon White, who took his niece to the park.

“We’re just out here with the kids just enjoying the sun, taking in some water, you know just in letting them enjoy themselves being kids,” said Destinee Harris, also at the park with her nieces and nephews.

Heat safety/Knozone advisories

Officials said the ground ozone level will be at a level that threatens the health of vulnerable populations, including children, older adults and people with health issues, particularly those that affect the lungs.

Hogsett said people should follow four advisories issued during any Knozone Action Day or heat wave.

“First, please check on our older adults and our older neighbors and our older residents,” began Mayor Hogsett. He also urged residents to keep pets cool, avoid any work that requires you to be outdoors, and avoid using a personal vehicle to help reduce carbon emission.

Dangers during extreme heat like this include heat stroke. If you’re out in the heat and feel dizzy, nauseous, or confused — get to a cooler place and drink water. Extreme cases of heat stroke can cause vomiting or seizures.

Indy Zoo

Animals at the Indy Zoo are also seeking refuge from the heat.

“Our animals enjoy frozen treats (like bloodsicles) and hanging out in their water pools and sprinklers, and many have the choice to go inside to stay cool. There are a lot of animals that have natural ways to cool off, like panting. Kangaroos lick their arms to help deal with the hot Australian air. Rhinos love to wallow in the mud,” the Zoo said in a statement.

Visitors to the Zoo can stay cool in the air-conditioned Oceans building, Orangutan Center and the Dolphin Pavilion. There are also numerous shaded spaces.

Hot car dangers

Another reminder is to NEVER leave a child or pet inside a hot car.

“Look before you lock,” said Jacob Spence, director at Marion County Emergency Management. “Pay attention when locking a vehicle to make sure there are no children or pets left inside. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s easy to become distracted and not realize that you do have your child or your pet with you sometimes. In these temperatures, a vehicle can become lethal in a matter of minutes.”