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Temperatures soar near 100 degrees in first week of fall
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Synthya Tremble, 4, of Turlock stays cool at the Columbia Park water feature on Tuesday. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

Fall officially began last week, but the heat says summer never left.

Residents across the Central Valley had to endure temperatures in the upper 90s to 100s on Monday and Tuesday, and the poor air quality that hot weather brings.

“The ridge of high pressure that has been over the region the past several days will remain the dominant feature this week, with resulting ozone problems,” said Samir Sheikh, the San Joaquin Valley Air District’s director of Strategies and Incentives.

Ozone that is forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive groups can affect people with respiratory disease, children and the elderly. Ozone that is categorized as unhealthy can affect even people with no pre-existing health conditions, according to the Air District. Officials urge people to take their own health situation into account when planning outdoor activities.

The National Weather Service has released a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the entire Central Valley due to the unseasonably hot temperatures that are expected to continue through the week.

The NWS recorded a high temperature of 99 degrees for the Modesto area at 3:41 p.m. on Tuesday. The highest temperature ever recorded for Sept. 28 is 100 degrees. It was recorded in 1997.

While Turlock and the Modesto area managed to stay under the century mark on Tuesday, Livermore and Vacaville both reached 104 degrees and Fresno and Stockton recorded temperatures of 100 degrees.

While heat-related illness is usually a concern during June, July and August, Valley residents need to be aware of the affects heat can have on the body. Heat exposure can even kill; it caused 8,015 deaths in the United States from 1979 to 2003, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.People who are at highest risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases. But even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.The CDC recommends the following steps to help prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather: ·         Stay cool indoors.·         Drink plenty of fluids.·         Replace salt and minerals.·         Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.·         Schedule outdoor activities carefully.·         Pace yourself.·         Use a buddy system.·         Monitor people at high risk.·         Adjust to the environment.·         Do not leave children in cars.·         Use common sense.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.