Merced County's hot spell not that unusual

Cooling to 90s won't last long

tmiller@mercedsunstar.comJuly 8, 2013 

Mom Cecilia Sandoval plays with daughter Yaretzi Sandoval, 1, as brother Yaotl Sandoval, 3, watches, (all of Atwater) at McConnell State Recreation Area Wednesday. (7-3-13)

BEA AHBECK CASSON — Merced Sun-Star Buy Photo

The week of 100-degree temperatures that ended on the Fourth of July was not out of the ordinary for Merced, according to weather officials, but just how far above the century mark the mercury rose each of those days was notable.

With highs between 104 and 107 degrees, Merced saw seven consecutive days in the triple digits, according to Brian Ochs, a National Weather Service climatologist.

"Seven days of triple digits wouldn't be that unusual," Ochs said. "They were pretty well over 100, during this period — 104 to 107 — that's probably of more significance."

Overnight temperatures did not provide much relief for the valley during the past week. The overnight lows typically allow residents to cool off during extended periods of hot weather, but the lows remained in the 70s.

Officials said the warm nights can create problems for people susceptible to heat-related illnesses, such as small children and the elderly.

Ochs said the record for the Merced area came in 1906, when temperatures stayed higher than 100 for 27 days.

Extended days of high heat are usually due to persistent high pressure systems blocked in an area by jet streams, Ochs said.

Several cooling centers throughout Merced County will be open to help residents cope with the heat, officials said. Here are the times and locations:

• Merced — 4 to 8 p.m. today, Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St.

• Atwater — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Community Center, 760 E. Bellevue Road

• Gustine — noon to 7 p.m. today, county library branch, 205 Sixth St.

• Livingston — noon to 8 p.m. today, Police Department, 1446 C St.

• Los Banos — 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, Community Center, 645 Seventh St.

Meteorologist Modesto Vasquez, also with the weather service, said Thursday tied a record high at 105, but the incoming marine layer of cooler air will give Merced County some respite — at least for the weekend.

Mid-90s are expected through Monday.

"It will be a short-lived cool down," Vasquez said.

Friday's midday temperatures were about 10 degrees cooler than the previous day, Vasquez said. The high forecast for today is 93 and for Sunday is 96.

The weekend's cooler weather is thanks to the deeper marine layer, which will penetrate coastal passes on its way to the valley, Vasquez said.

Highs will be back to triple digits by Tuesday, he said.

Much of the Central Valley has been under an excessive heat warning during the past week. Vasquez said that warning was set to officially end at 8 p.m. Friday.

"I think we're looking at canceling a few hours earlier," he said.

Lower temperatures could be a welcome sight after the weeklong heat wave turned deadly in the valley.

A 77-year-old man was found dead in his Ceres home amid triple-digit temperatures in the first reported death blamed on the statewide heat wave, Stanislaus County health officials said Wednesday.

The man's name has not been released.

No serious heat-related health problems were reported during the extreme heat in Merced County.

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