Heat and Air Quality

July 8, 2008 9:57:34 AM PDT
The National Weather Service had a conference call with the state Office of Emergency Services earlier on Monday. They don't expect to putout any heat advisories or warnings this week unless temperatures climb above 110 degrees. Nevertheless, the combination of hot weather and bad air quality is prompting local health officials to prepare for more heat related problems. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Hanford are monitoring air pressure, the smoke from fires and high temperatures expected this week. Red covers a screen, showing the scalding temperatures for Wednesday, what's predicted to be the hottest day of the week. Meteorologist Steve Mendenhall says, "The biggest problem we're going to have is the increasing high pressure will lead to poor air quality. This is mostly form the local effects probably from automobiles any kind of human activity right here in the valley."

Family Healthcare Network in Visalia reports a significant increase in calls from people suffering from asthma or sinus-related illnesses. Kaweah Delta Healthcare District says they expect about a 10% increase in people coming into the emergency room for heat-related problems. Emergency Services Dr. Jerry Jacobson says most people are trying to stay safe.

Dr. Jerry Jacobson says, "People are becoming educated. They're doing the proper things to keep them from getting worse."

The city of Visalia has opened up the Transit Center to help residents stay cool. Monday afternoon, people were already taking advantage of the air conditioning. Visalia Fire Department officials say they expect to respond to more dehydration and heart attack calls this week.

Battalion Chief Charlie Norman says, "Anytime we have these high temperatures, especially when people don't have the chance to acclimatize we'll get a lot of these people generally working out in the sun and again we have to watch out for the senior and youthful population."

Meteorologist Steve Mendenhall says, "I think the biggest thing is that people have to realize that even though you are used to the valley heat, when you get above 105 degrees it is more oppressive and you should really try to limit your activities more, if possible."


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