A high pressure system hovering over the West is causing temperatures to spike and is testing the electrical grid.
In the Central Valley temperatures are expected to remain in the triple digits into next week — and a high of 105 degrees today — with evening temperatures dropping down into the upper 60s, according to the National Weather Service’s forecast through Tuesday.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat outlook for several California counties, including much on the San Joaquin Valley. Outlooks are issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next three to seven days. An outlook provides information to those who need considerable lead time to prepare for the event, such as public utility staff, emergency managers and public health officials.
Currently there are no plans to open cooling centers in Turlock, though Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman said he is monitoring the heat outlook and the overnight temperatures.
“If the temperatures rise and the overnight cooling doesn’t reach the minimum, then we would likely reach out to our partners, such as the Salvation Army, and open up some cooling centers,” Lohman said.
With the rising temperatures Lohman said he hopes to see a rise in neighborly behavior.
“Hopefully we see people reaching out and being compassionate and checking on the elderly and other at-risk individuals,” Lohman said.
When temperatures soar the stress heat can cause on the body increases. According to the National Weather Service heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. On average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.
Heat-related illnesses occur when the body heats too quickly to cool itself safely, or looses too much fluid or salt through dehydration or sweating. The severity of heat disorders tends to increase with age. Conditions that cause heat cramps in a 17-year-old may result in heat exhaustion in someone 40 years old and heat stroke in a person over 60 years old, according to health studies.
Heat disorders can include sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
The heat wave is also expected to test California’s power grid. With that in mind, the California Independent System Operator, issued a Flex Alert Friday for the state. The alert, authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission, requests consumers curb their electrical usage during 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., when air conditioning usage drives up consumption. There is currently no flex alert planned for today or Sunday.