Triple-digit heat expected to increase in Central California by 2050

Brianna Willis Image
Thursday, August 17, 2023
Triple digit heat expected to increase in Fresno County by 2050
Currently, Fresno County has about 26 days per year when temperatures are over 100 degrees.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Currently, Fresno County has about 26 days per year when temperatures are over 100 degrees.

30 years from now, we're expected to have nearly 43 triple digits days, according to the First Street Foundation, which studies climate data.

Experts say this can have a drastic effect on our water system.

While it's already hot in the Central Valley, data from the first street foundation shows it's only going to get hotter in the next three decades.

Merced County is expected to go from 19 triple-digit days per year to 34 by the year 2050.

Tulare County is set to go from 26 days to 43.

"The big, big change that we have seen is that temperatures have warmed, on the order of about three degrees Fahrenheit, that seems like a small number, but that warming has two main effects on our water resources," said UC Merced Professor, PhD., John Abatzoglou.

Abatzoglou explains the increase in temperatures means the atmosphere and agricultural systems need more water.

"It means our snow levels are significantly higher, more of that precipitation then falls as rain, less is captured as snow, and that puts a burden on our state water resources," said Abatzoglou.

The extreme heat also puts a burden on people who work outdoors.

Brian Russell with the city of Fresno public works says those paving roads and tackling other projects under the sun start earlier in the day and take other steps to stay safe.

"Preparation starts the day before with hydration and the proper diet to make sure they're eating good healthy food before they come to work," said Assistant director of Public Works with the city of Fresno, Brian Russell.

Along with rising heat, experts say climate change also increases the risks of floods and fires, which are no strangers to Central California.

A large survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found 73 percent of people surveyed in Fresno County say they are worried about global warming.

Mariposa County had the lowest percentage in the region at 64, but that's just one below the national average.

You can learn much more about how much hotter it will get where you live and the risk of floods and fires on our website.

We have an interactive tool on our home page.

All you have to do is type in your county or enter your zip code for even more precise numbers.

For news updates, follow Brianna Willis on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.