Nature's thermostat set to broil

Plenty of activities to do, so stay safe outside

local@modbee.comJune 7, 2013 

Saturday is supposed to be a scorcher, with predicted highs of 106 in Modesto, Patterson and Turlock. In Merced, it's supposed to be even a degree hotter than that.

And being Saturday, it's not like a lot of folks are in the office, keeping cool at the company's expense. On the other hand, if you can stand the heat, there are several opportunities to be out in it, having a good time. Among them:

• The Kiwanis American Graffiti Festival and Car Show at the Modesto Junior College West Campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• The John Muir Festival in Coulterville from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• The Sarsaparilla Roundup at Columbia State Historic Park from 1 to 4 p.m.

• The Saturday in the Mines Festival in Angels Camp from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Of course, local reservoirs are sure to be popular destinations for those who like to soak up the sun and enjoy a refreshing dip at the same time.

For those out and about, experts agree on some basic precautions, including: Drink plenty of water, apply sunscreen liberally and regularly, wear light-colored and loose clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, keep physical activities to a minimum, and be aware that prescription medication can affect heat tolerance.

For those who want to escape the heat without having to sit at home with the air conditioner cranked up, malls and movies are good bets. At the State Theatre in downtown Modesto, there will be a singalong showing of "Grease" at 6:30 p.m., with giveaways and contests.

And the many folks who do stay at home should remember:

• Fans alone won't protect you from extreme heat — use your air conditioner.

• If your indoor temperature remains above 90 degrees, seek shelter in an air-conditioned building.

• Drink plenty of water, and eat lighter meals.

• Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people who live alone.

• Bring pets indoors.

• Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage to replace salts and minerals lost during heavy sweating.

• Use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths.

The good news is that after today, the temperature is expected to take a sharp drop, to 93 degrees in the Modesto area Sunday, and then 86 on Monday.

Because of that, there were no plans Friday to open cooling centers this weekend in Stanislaus County, said Modesto Regional Fire Authority Battalion Chief Hugo Patino.

"Usually, there's enough recovery at night that it's not warranted," he said. "If the heat goes multiple days, certainly we monitor the weather and make a determination (on cooling centers) as necessary."

The city of Merced, however, will open its cooling center today to help residents deal with the heat. The center will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St. It will be staffed by the Parks and Recreation Department. Before the cooling center opens, the city notes that people can seek shelter from the heat in the Merced County Library, 2100 O St., which closes at 3.

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