The forecast for the next few days: sunny, very hot, and a bit windy.
The daily high temperatures predicted for Modesto — near 102 Friday, 104 Saturday and 101 Sunday — have a National Weather Service heat advisory in effect through 8 p.m. Sunday. Overnight lows are expected to be 68 degrees Friday, 74 Saturday and 65 Sunday.
As for the winds, they're expected to be strongest Friday night: up to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Saturday's winds will be up to 10 mph, again with gusts up to 20, and Sunday's winds up to 8. Though the breeze will have a cooling effect on people, they've prompted the weather service to issue a red flag warning through Sunday night.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The warning is made "where conditions are dry and windy, and together that creates fire weather conditions, where any fires that get started can rapidly spread and grow," Mike Kochasic in the weather service's Sacramento office said Friday morning. The weather service can't prohibit people from burning, he said, "but we recommend they not burn."
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says on its website that a red flag warning is the highest fire danger alert, a step above a fire weather watch. "During these times, extreme caution is urged by all residents, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire," it says. "... During heightened fire danger, CalFire will place additional firefighters on duty, staff more fire engines and keep more equipment on 24 hours a day to be able to respond to any new fires."
Because the weekend does not constitute an extended period of high temperatures, the Stanislaus County Office of Emergency Services currently has no plans to open cooling centers, which are 24/7 facilities to give people relief from the heat, said Deputy Director Eric Holly.
But StanEmergency has been in contact with its city partners about cooling zones that are available for a short-term break from heat, he said. A complete list of cooling zones within the county is posted at StanEmergency.org. Among those open on weekends are:
- Modesto: the county library (Saturday only), 1500 I St.; Maddux Youth Center (Saturday only), 615 Sierra Drive; McHenry Museum, 1402 I St.; Modesto Gospel Mission (Sunday only), 1400 Yosemite Blvd.; and Vintage Faire Mall.
- Turlock: county library (Saturday only), 550 Minaret Ave.
- Oakdale: county library (Saturday only), 151 S. First Ave.
- Patterson: county library (Saturday only), 46 N. Salado
- Ceres: Community Center (Saturday only), 2701 Fourth St.; county library (Saturday only), 2250 Magnolia
- Riverbank: county library (Saturday only), 3442 Santa Fe St.
- Denair: county library (Saturday only), 4801 Kersey Road
- Empire, county library (Saturday only), 18 S. Abbie St.
- Hughson: county library (Saturday only), 2412 A Third St.
- Newman, county library (Saturday only), 1305 Kern St.
- Salida, county library (Saturday only), 4835 Sisk Road
- Waterford, county library (Saturday only), 324 E St.
StanEmergency's page also notes there are community swimming pools open in Empire, Riverbank and Turlock.
And in Modesto, the children's splash pad and wading pool in Graceada Park near downtown reopened earlier this month. The splash pad is open daily from 2 to 6 p.m., but the pool is not open for recreational use on weekends.
To keep up on heat-related information, Holly recommends residents call StanEmergency's heat hot line at 209-558-8035 or, for more on emergency resources, call the United Way's 211 line.
And at StanAware.com, he said, residents can sign up to get notices by phone, text and email of emergencies in the area.