Cool Zones Designated Across San Diego County As Hot Temperatures Soar
Saturday, July 11, 2020
Photo by KPBS Staff
Hot air hung over much of San Diego County Saturday, with record or near-record heat felt in several areas.
Ramona reached 101 degrees at 1 p.m., which eclipsed the previous record of 100 set in 1983, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
It was 99 degrees in El Cajon and 98 in Escondido at 1 p.m.
The sea breeze moderated temperatures near the coast, where the San Diego Airport temperature reading was 79.
The mercury will continue to rise this weekend in the county's western valleys, mountains and deserts as a result of a heat wave that will keep those areas scorching until Monday, the NWS said.
A strong system of high pressure has been building over Arizona and New Mexico, ushering in sweltering heat in most of Southern California through Monday, forecasters said.
The NWS issued an excessive heat warning Saturday that will be in effect through 8 p.m. Monday in the deserts, while a heat advisory will last through 8 p.m. Sunday in the western valleys and the mountains.
High temperatures Saturday were forecast to reach 79-84 degrees near the coast, 89-94 inland, 91-96 in the western valleys, 100-105 near the foothills, 98 in the mountains and 110 in the deserts. Sunday's high could reach 120 in some desert communities.
The hot temperatures are coupled with a higher-than-usual humidity thanks to monsoonal moisture coming up from Mexico, said Alex Tardy from the NWS.
He said that can cause thunderstorms in the mountains. These usually come with lightning and rain, making the areas wildfire hazards.
Slight cooling will arrive in the deserts on Tuesday and continue through Thursday, forecasters said, but that won’t last long.
“Once we get past next weekend is when we’ll start to cycle over again and start heating back up everywhere,” said Tardy.
For people needing to beat the heat, designated “Cool Zones” will be set up across San Diego county. One in Chula Vista Center in the old Sears building opened Saturday while others are opening Monday.
Starting Monday, June 15, 2020, a select number of Cool Zones will be open to the public.
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Cool Zones are air-conditioned settings open to the public, usually in community centers or libraries.
While the County opens Cool Zones every summer, this summer will see slightly different procedures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Anyone entering a Cool Zone will have their temperatures taken, wear a face covering and practice social distancing. Time limits might be set in place due to limited capacity.
Those that can’t make it to a Cool Zone might be able to get a free electric fan. From the County through a partnership with SDG&E, the Cool Zone Fan Program provides free electric fans for low income individuals without access to air conditioning. To learn more or to request a fan, call Aging & Independence Services at (800) 339-4661.
Tips To Beat The Heat:
San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency recommends the following:
◦ Slow down. Be your most physically active during the coolest part of the day, usually between 4-7 a.m. Pace yourself when engaging in physical activity.
◦ Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not being used, stay on the lowest floor. Keep shades down and blinds closed, but windows slightly open.
◦ Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help sweat evaporate, which cools your body.
◦ Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.
◦ Avoid using the oven.
◦ Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's heat.
◦ Air out hot cars before getting into them.
◦ Never leave children or pets inside vehicles at any time, even with the windows cracked.
◦ Temperatures inside a vehicle can reach lethal levels no matter what the weather is like.
◦ Drink more fluids than usual even if you do not feel thirsty.
◦ Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine; they make the heat's effects on your body worse.
◦ Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increases metabolic heat.
◦ Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
◦ If you take diuretics, ask your physician about a lower dosage during hot weather.
◦ If it is safe to do so, leave windows open at night. Open windows on two sides to create cross ventilation.
◦ Place a piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil in sunny windows to reflect sunlight and heat away from the house.
◦ Vacuum, clean or replace air filters regularly for maximum cooling efficiency.
◦ If affordable, install outdoor awnings or sunscreens.
◦ Call your physician if you feel you may be experiencing a heat-related illness.
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