The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for Mercer County and the surrounding area from Wednesday morning, July 17, through Sunday evening, July 21, and County Executive Brian M. Hughes is reminding residents that many cooling sites are open. An Excessive Heat Watch means that a prolonged period of hot temperatures is expected, with hot temperatures and high humidity combining to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible.

To cope during extreme heat, drink plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty, and spend as much time as possible in an air-conditioned environment.

Hot weather can impact everyone, regardless of age or condition, but some people are more at risk than others. People most at risk include those over age 65, individuals with medical conditions, those taking medications that may affect the way the body reacts to heat, people with disabilities, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, babies and young children, those who are overweight or obese, individuals who work or exercise outdoors, and even those residents who may have recently arrived from cooler climates. Never leave children, pets, or anyone with limited mobility alone in hot vehicles. Even with the windows rolled down, only minutes in a hot car can be deadly. Be sure to check on elderly relatives and neighbors.

Mercer County also offers designated cooling sites including all municipal senior centers and all Mercer County Library System branches. Call individual locations for daily hours of operation. These locations are open to all residents.

The following senior centers are cooling sites:

Reading Senior Citizens Center, 15 Ringold St., Trenton

Jennye W. Stubblefield Senior Center, 301 Prospect St., Trenton

South Ward Senior Center, 870 South Broad St., Trenton

Samuel Naples Senior Center, 611 Chestnut Ave., Trenton

Hamilton Senior Center, 409 Cypress Lane

John O. Wilson Neighborhood Center, 169 Wilfred Ave., Hamilton

Lawrence Township Senior Center, 30 Darrah Lane East

Ewing Senior and Community Center, 999 Lower Ferry Road

Hollowbrook Community Center, 320 Hollowbrook Drive, Ewing

Princeton Senior Resource Center, Suzanne Patterson Building, 45 Stockton St.;

East Windsor Senior Center, 40 Lanning Blvd.

West Windsor Senior Center, 271 Clarksville Road.

Hopewell Valley Senior Center, 395 Reading St., Pennington

Robbinsville Township Senior Center, 1117 Route 130

The following Mercer County library branches are cooling sites:

Lawrence Headquarters Branch, 2751 Brunswick Pike

Ewing, 61 Scotch Road

Hollowbrook, 320 Hollowbrook Drive, Ewing

West Windsor, 333 North Post Road

Hickory Corner, 138 Hickory Corner Road, East Windsor

Twin Rivers, 276 Abbington Drive, East Windsor

Hightstown Memorial, 114 Franklin St.

Hopewell, 245 Pennington-Titusville Road, Pennington

Robbinsville, 42 Allentown-Robbinsville Road

For assistance in coping with the heat or to contact your local cooling site, please call the Mercer County Office on Aging at (609) 989-6661 or toll-free (877) 222-3737. During non-business hours, residents are encouraged to call 911 if they experience heat-related problems.

For more information regarding heat-related emergencies, please visit ready.nj.gov, the National Weather Service Heat Safety Tips and Resources page or the National Institute on Aging Hot Weather Safety page.