Many locals will try to escape the Valley’s heat this Fourth of July weekend with a trip to the coast in search of waves and cooler temperatures.
But those who plan to stay in Merced should take notes on how to keep cool and beat the heat.
Jeff Barlow, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, said temperatures in the Merced area will remain in the high 90s and low 100s for the next several days, which is slightly above normal for this time of year. Low to mid-90s are typical for the first week of July.
However, Merced is still cooler than most of the Valley because of a Delta breeze that brings in some cool air from the Pacific Ocean, Barlow explained.
But as the temperatures rise, so does the risk of heat-related illnesses. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and rashes all are heat-triggered illnesses.
Phillip Brown, emergency room director at Mercy Medical Center Merced, said that so far this summer, no heat-related hospital admissions have been recorded.
“Not yet, but we start preparing around this time of year,” Brown said. “It’s more common to see this later in the summer, especially when we go about 10 days straight of hot temperatures and it doesn’t cool off at night.”
Children and the elderly are most vulnerable to heat-imposed illnesses, Brown said.
Jeremy Rahn, battalion chief for Cal Fire/Merced County Fire Department, said the Office of Emergency Services works closely with the Public Health Department in providing preparedness before and during any heat-related emergencies.
The organizations work together to open cooling centers around the county. Centers are opened only when temperatures are expected to exceed 105 degrees for three consecutive days, according to Rahn. Information on cooling centers can be accessed through the Merced County website at www.co.merced.ca.us.