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NWS issues 'excessive heat warning' for San Diego County

Today starts an extended heat wave for San Diego County, even folks along the coast will need to find ways to beat the heat. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado went out to find folks doing just that.

Start hydrating, put on that sunscreen and create a plan to stay cool because from the coasts to the deserts of San Diego County, a heat wave has settled in until Labor Day. August will end on a high note in the San Diego area — The extremely high temperatures start Tuesday until the beginning of September, forecasters said.

But 3-year-old Liam Anderson from Ocean Beach had the right idea. He had a blast splashing in the water at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego. "I'm going to put a car over there in the water and jump off ... it’s cold and fun!" he exclaimed.

Liam’s dad, John Anderson, said while they do live on the coast, the humidity makes it feel hotter and during the heat wave they have to get out of the house. "We don’t have air conditioning, so (we find) any way to stay cool — we take him to the beach all the time down here of course," he said.  

The trouble, though, was getting Liam to go back home. "I’ve been trying for a half hour now," Anderson said.

Resources to beat the heat

  • Click here for a list of Cool Zones in San Diego County or call 211 for information on the nearest near you.
  • People unable to get to a Cool Zone location without transportation assistance can call 211 to be connected to a transportation or rideshare service at no cost.
  • Seniors, people with disabilities or those on limited incomes can request a free electric fan from the county at no cost. Call 211 or fill out this survey to see if you're eligible.

With a week of torrid conditions expected across the region, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued an excessive-heat warning, effective from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 8 p.m. next Monday.

Over the period, thermometer readings will rise well into the 80s at the beaches, the 90s in the inland valleys and up to 115 in the deserts, and high-humidity levels will make it feel even hotter, the NWS advised.

Nighttime will bring only modest relief, with minimum temperatures no lower than the 70s.

The soaring temperatures will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or exercising outdoors, meteorologists cautioned.

The weather service advised drinking plenty of water during the extra-hot spell while avoiding dehydrating alcoholic, sugary or caffeinated drinks; dressing in lightweight, light-colored clothing; eating small but more frequent meals; keeping an eye on those who may be particularly vulnerable to the heat, including small children and the elderly; and staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day, if possible.

But some people have to work outdoors in the heat, like mail carrier Edward King, who was working in Ocean Beach. King said people who deliver mail and packages have suffered debilitating heat strokes on the job. "Heat stroke can hit you without even knowing it, and the problem is it stays with you," he said. "Just drink a lot of water, every 15 minutes, always drinking water." 

Coronado resident Colton Story had a little perspective about San Diego's heat wave, remembering his days working in Sacramento and Bakersfield. "I was digging some trenches in like 110 (degree heat), running some electrical stuff, and so 90 doesn’t sound that bad. But I know we do have that humidity factor so it’s probably going to feel a little bit hotter — up there is that really dry heat."

Story said he’s going to be spending most of the heat wave outdoors. "I just try to get out and get some air and catch the breeze," he said. "It’s definitely nice to have AC and I don’t have that luxury and I’m a little envious of the people that do," he said.

And San Diegan Patrick Walsh had some words of wisdom that only an avid surfer could give: "Chill out at the beach especially since it’s hot — don’t notice it here!" 

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