Merced and the rest of the San Joaquin Valley are under a heat warning issued by the National Weather Service in Hanford.
Officials at the weather service said the scorching temperatures put most of the people in Merced County at a high risk for possible health issues related to high temperatures, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The warning remains in effect until at least Thursday, officials said.
Temperatures in Merced will reach nearly 110 degrees everyday until at least Friday, said Bill Peterson, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Hanford. Saturday and Sunday will only dip a few degrees, he said, and remain in the low triple digits.
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“It’s still going to be hot but won’t be in the 109 or 110 range like first part of the week,” he said. “But it’s enough to take us out of the heat warning.”
Due to the heat advisory the Farm to Plaza event in Los Banos will be canceled, officials confirmed on Monday.
For homeless men and women it can be challenging to keep cool during heat waves, said Jose Cruz, who lived outside in Merced for five years. Dowsing in water and staying in the shade is sometimes all they can do, he said.
“A lot of cold ice water helps,” he said on Monday. “Anywhere we can get it.”
Often times businesses won’t let homeless people use the bathroom in their establishment, Cruz said, let alone allow them to linger in the air conditioned facility.
Until at least Thursday a cooling center at City Hall, 678 W. 18th St., will be available to anyone in Merced who needs it, said Stephanie Dietz, assistant city manager. The Sand Pipes room will be open from 3p.m. to 8, she said, with water and snacks available.
Unless a pet becomes aggressive or there is an issue they are free to stay, she said.
“We understand the sensitivity of companions to the homeless population and we’re making cooling centers available to companions as well during this hot time,” Dietz said.
The Merced County Library, located at 2100 O St., is another cooling zone for as long as the heat wave lasts, officials said. They are open from 10 a.m. to 6 Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 Friday and Saturday. Water will also be available.
In Los Banos, cooling zones will also be open through Wednesday. The Community Center, 645 7th St., will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the Los Banos Library, 1312 7th St., will be open 11 a.m. to 5 on Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 7 on Wednesday.
Peterson advises people to stay hydrated and those who are working or spending time outside to find some shelter from the sun and if possible avoid extraneous activities.
During July and August the Rescue Mission holds their campaign Beat the Heat that provides hygiene kits and bottles water for the homeless. They also have shorts and tank tops available for them to pick up.
Anybody who wants to donate or pick up a supplies can go to 527 W. 20th St.
Monica Velez: 209-385-2486