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Swimmers Flood White Plains Pools

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Alexis Frank, 28, and Andee Pace, 25, rarely visit their neighborhood pool, however, the two White Plains residents couldn’t resist cooling off in Kittrell Pool when temperatures surged up to 99 degrees Friday.

The high temperature prompted the National Weather Service to issue an excessive heat warning until 10 p.m.

“It’s definitely working. It’s not as bad as if you weren’t in a pool and there’s a cross breeze too,” said Pace. “It’s a way to get a little sun and have fun in the water.”

White Plains weather will peak near 99 degrees Friday and dip down to a low of 76 overnight. Temperatures are expected to spike up to 94 degrees Saturday, meriting a National Weather Service heat advisory from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Highs are expected to drop down to 87 degrees Sunday and 83 degrees Monday.

City Hall has kept the Kittrell and Gardella pools open until 8 p.m. instead of the usual 6:30 p.m. since the heat set in on Tuesday. The pool’s extended hours  will continue through Sunday.

Frank said getting wet “was the best” cooling method available. Several White Plains residents agreed with her, judging by the attendance records.

Gardella’s usual 150 to 200 daily visitors surged to more than 300, according to assistant pool director Mike Mirabella. One camp group even came twice Thursday.

“After yesterday I’m kind of ready for the heat to be over, but it is. You have to deal with it,” said Mirabella, 32, a Poughkeepsie resident who also works as an athletic trainer at the high school.

Kittrell, which is on the corner of Bank Street and Fisher Avenue, as well as Ferris Avenue’s Gardella pool have two to three extra lifeguards on duty. Pool managers and directors are encouraging lifeguards to drink plenty of water and take extra breaks in the pool because the aquatics offices do not have air-conditioning.

Still, Gardella manager, Jorge Robles, 57, said his staff appreciated the heat wave.

“Most of our guards are college students so they’re looking to work any time. ‘Just call me,’ they say. It’s a blessing,” said Robles, a Yonkers resident who has been guarding and instructing lifeguards since 1975. “We look forward to this weather and watching people having fun. When it’s slow you’re just sitting here.”

About 40 swimmers took advantage of the extended hours Thursday and joined the Gardella crowd from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Robles said the Recreation and Parks Department had been “getting swamped” with new requests for the resident identifications required for pool entrance.

“Sometimes I let a few people in without the resident id’s. How can you say no to a bunch of kids who want to get wet?” said Robles.

Many camps, including the Grace Church Community Center camp in White Plains, have started adding 45 minutes or so to their daily dip.

“We have only one room with A/C and that’s the music room. So the kids can’t wait to get here,” said counselor Sean Belton, 29, of Mount Vernon. “Normally the camp counselors really don’t like getting in the water, but when it’s this hot, everyone’s in.”

What do you think of the weather? Can't get enough? Ready to move north? Where do you go to stay cool in White Plains? Email responses to strangle@thedailywhiteplains.com.

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