A cold beer may be nice on a hot day, but when temperatures begin to soar, 71-year-old Arthur Slaton says he sticks to water.
“I try to drink as much water as I can,” the Merced man said Monday as he sat under a tree at McNamara Community Park, seeking shade from the beating sun on the 96-degree afternoon.
A couple of yards away, his grandson, Cameron, ran in and out of the water spouting from a splash pad at the park.
“I bring him here, but I’m going home in the air conditioning as soon as possible,” Slaton said.
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The splash pad was an oasis on a day that might have seemed like a warmup to the coming heat that is forecast for the next two weeks.
According to the National Weather Service, the high temperatures this week will be at or near 100 degrees in Merced.
On the west side, Los Banos is expected to hit 102 degrees Tuesday, with high temperatures in the following days hovering around 100 degrees. And it could get hotter next week.
For the city of Merced and other municipalities in Merced County, cooling centers will activate when the forecast calls for a high of 105 degrees, city spokesman Mike Conway said.
“The bus would be activated so people can get free rides to cooling centers,” Conway said. “But, so far, we have been monitoring the forecast and we don’t see those temps coming with the current heat spell.”
While the 105-degree mark may not be hit, Scott Rowe of the National Weather Service office in Hanford said safety during higher temperatures is crucial.
“Drink extra water and get as much shade as possible if you are going outside,” Rowe said. “Be able to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses.”
PG&E is asking residents in the Central Valley to conserve energy whenever possible, including by unplugging unnecessary appliances and setting air conditioning units to 85 or higher when away from home.
Merced resident Lakwanda Ervin said she tries to avoid running up her grandfather’s electric bill with air conditioning by enjoying public amenities such as the splash pad at McNamara park.
Ervin’s daughter, Kahmeyiah Roberson, was celebrating her sixth birthday. So the two spent some time together at the park.
“But we try to stay inside during the heat as much as possible,” Ervin said.
Out at Stephen Leonard Park, 16-year-old Jose Pulido and friend 10-year-old Sabastien Mercado were riding a skateboard and scooter on the hot cement at the skate park.
“I just like to keep moving for the fresh breeze,” Pulido said.
But if it gets any hotter, Pulido said, they may switch activities.
“I’m going to head to the pool,” he said.