Heat to hang around, intensify in valley

kvaline@modbee.comJune 30, 2013 

    alternate text Kevin Valine
    Title: Reporter
    Coverage areas: City of Modesto and nonprofits
    Bio: Kevin Valine has been a copy editor and reporter at The Bee since January 2006. He's worked at the Reno Gazette-Journal, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune and Paradise Post as a reporter and copy editor. He's a graduate of San Jose State.
    Recent stories written by Kevin
    E-mail: kvaline@modbee.com

— There will be no quick relief from the Modesto area's heat wave, which now is expected to break records and end after eight straight days of triple-digit temperatures.

The National Weather Service had predicted that Independence Day would offer the first respite since the heat wave started Friday, with a predicted high of 96 degrees.

But Modesto now is expected to celebrate the Fourth with a sizzling daytime high of 106 degrees. That would tie the record high for July 4, which was set in 1991, according to the Modesto Irrigation District.

Other records could fall through Wednesday:

• Today's expected high of 108 would top the record of 107 for this date set in 1950.

• Tuesday's expected high of 110 is two degrees higher than the July 2 record of 108 degrees, also set in 1950.

• Wednesday's expected high of 112 is four degrees higher than the July 3 record of 108, which was set in 1991.

Friday's high is expected to be 101, six degrees below the record set in 2007. Saturday could be the first day below 100 degrees, with a predicted high of 95 degrees.

The National Weather Service is predicting nighttime lows in the high 60s to high 70s. But nighttime lows could be in the low 80s Tuesday and Wednesday if thunderstorms develop over the Sierra Nevada, causing cloud cover in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

NWS meteorologist Craig Shoemaker said it's so hot in the valley because of a very large and strong high pressure system centered over southern Nevada. The system is blocking cooler Pacific Ocean air from reaching the valley.

"The heat is just building in the valley," Shoemaker said. "There is no cool air to filter in."

Shoemaker said the high pressure system typically is not as strong this time of year and is centered farther east, in the Four Corners region, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet.

The system has some moisture, which is raising the humidity level in the valley and making it feel sticky.

Stanislaus County officials have been monitoring the heat wave. They said Sunday there have been no heat-related deaths or spikes in calls for medical assistance.

Officials are keeping a close eye on the weather because of a 2006 heat wave with high humidity and hot nights that resulted in the deaths of 23 Stanislaus County residents, many of them elderly, frail and isolated. County officials are asking residents to check on vulnerable neighbors who live alone.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.

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