Modesto heat breaks a record, but relief is on the way

06/09/2014 6:18 AM

06/09/2014 6:45 PM

Monday was the hottest June 9 on record, but things will cool off for the rest of the week.

The previous record for the day was 101, set in 1979, according to the Modesto Irrigation District. Between 5 and 6 p.m. Monday, MID recorded the high temperature of 104.

Monday was “the peak of the heat,” National Weather Service forecaster Cindy Matthews said. “There is a really broad area of high pressure over us,” she said Monday. “What it’s done is caused it to be a little bit stagnant and things just aren’t cooling off at night.”

In Oakdale, the heat prompted the city to open the Gladys L. Lemons Senior Community Center at 450 E. A St. as a cooling center. “The center will remain open until 6 p.m. (Monday) for anyone needing such assistance,” the city said in a news release.

The Salvation Army opens its Berberian Homeless Shelter at Ninth and D streets in Modesto as a cooling center on any day that reaches 100 degrees. The shelter, open to anyone from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., offers drinks and leisure activities.

With the increased heat comes increased fire danger, exacerbated by drought conditions. According to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant, state firefighters responded to more than 200 wildfires last week.

“High fire danger this week,” Berlant posted on Twitter.

The heat hasn’t had any adverse effects on Modesto Irrigation District operations, spokeswoman Melissa Williams said Monday afternoon. The same held true at the Turlock Irrigation District, according to spokesman Calvin Curtin.

“We anticipate being able to meet customer demand with our current generation resources,” Curtin said in an email.

Peak power usage generally comes from 5 to 6 p.m.; residents are advised to avoid using appliances at that time.

“This is also a great time for people to be planning for the really hot weather we get in the Valley every year,” said David Jones, director of legislative affairs and communications for Stanislaus County. “People need to plan now for what they will do if their air conditioner goes out or if there is a power failure. Make sure you have a relative, friend or neighbor you can go visit to cool off if you don’t have access to air conditioning.”

Though the past couple of days have been unseasonably hot, the overnight temperatures have dropped into the 60s.

That’s important, Matthews said. Though the Northern San Joaquin Valley is no stranger to triple-digit temperatures, the breezes that generally cool the area overnight help.

“Your body really needs those overnight temperatures to reset itself and recover,” Matthews said. “When the body’s temperature stays over 70 degrees for 24 hours a day, it starts accumulating health issues.”

Also, when the low is 64 degrees, as it was Monday morning, the day starts off at a higher temperature and the trend continues for 24 hours.

There is good news on the horizon: starting today, the heat will ease, with a high of 98 expected and dropping each day to get to the upper 80s by Friday. That’s about normal for this time of year. Lows will drop into the refreshing upper 50s overnight.

“It’s going to be a nice week,” Matthews said.

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