s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 5 of 15 free articles this month.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read 10 of 15 free articles this month.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read all of your free articles this month.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for reading! Why not subscribe?
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Subscribe today!
Ooops! You're out of free articles. Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading all of our products and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?

Fans flew off the shelves. Slip-and-slides vanished from stores. The most common Facebook posts seemed to be screenshots of cellphone weather apps showing the temperature.

People browsed aimlessly in supermarket vegetable sections; they sheltered in shopping malls.

And sitting in some welcome shade outside the Santa Rosa Costco, enjoying a breeze, Bill Brazeau, 45, confirmed the obvious: "Yes, it has been hot."

The mercury hit 92 degrees on Tuesday in Santa Rosa, the fifth straight day it rose above 90. It was the city's eighth-hottest July 2 since 1932.

In Healdsburg the temperature was 96; in Sebastopol, 89; in Ukiah 110; in Bodega Bay, 63; in Cloverdale 106; in Calistoga, 96; and in Sonoma, 90.

"We are blowing through our fans right now, literally," said Heather McLeod, assistant store manager at Friedman's Home Improvement store in Santa Rosa. She said the three Friedman's stores had sold thousands of fans since Friday.

At the Coddingtown mall, Jean Farnham, 59, of Elkhorn Neb., outlined her schedule of coping.

"We've been bike riding in the morning before it gets hot; then we have lunch; then we find somewhere where it's cool," said Farnham, who is visiting family in Santa Rosa.

Among afternoon destinations beside the mall were the Sonoma Coast and the movie theater, she said.

Temperatures are projected to stay at current levels until Friday, when they are expected to drop, to 84 degrees in Santa Rosa, said the National Weather Service.

A high pressure system over the Pacific Ocean pushing down on the lower atmosphere is behind the hot spell, which on Sunday produced a Death Valley high of 130 degrees.

Still, for the most part, it appears that in Sonoma County the heat, though discomforting at times, has not done its worst.

Petaluma did open a "cooling center" with air conditioning and water supplies at the Lucchesi Park Community Center (it opens today from noon to 8 p.m.), but it was the only city to do so.

"When we get these periods of heat, I closely monitor the types of calls and if we start to experience any heat related emergencies then we've really got to step it up," said Healdsburg Fire Chief Steve Adams. "And we haven't experienced any of that."

While Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital officials said a few patients had been admitted for dehydration, no such cases were reported at Sutter Medical Center.

"There have been calls, but the severity is not such that it's widespread," said Christopher Helgren, manager of the county emergency services office.

County health officials said cooler nights have made it easier for people to handle the temperatures and also obviated the need to take extra measures.

"There's not the same risk for heat stroke, whereas if it continues for a 24-hour period, closed spaces can get very hot and that's when you can see problems," said Lynn Silver Chalfin, the county health officer.

Nevertheless, she and others said, sensible precautions should be taken: stay hydrated; leave purses or other belongings in the back of one's vehicle to ensure that children or pets are left there, be aware that the heat affects in particular older people and children.

"There's a lot of individual things that can be done but as community, people need to be checking on their neighbors and friends," said Karen Gelphman, a family doctor at Sutter Medical Center.

In Mendocino, CHP Capt. Jim Epperson said his officers are expediting calls for assistance from stranded motorists, particularly for the elderly, or those with young children or pets in the car.

"With this weather, we're concerned for people sitting in their cars," he said. "Cars get very hot very quickly."

He reminds drivers to limit trips during the hottest part of the day and keep water available.

Another caution, to plan activities including work to take place indoors as much as possible, has practical impacts, said Brazeau, of Santa Rosa: "I can't work because I do yardwork. I can't work in this, I'll melt."

The heat dents wallets for vineyard workers, too, said Pete Opatz, senior viticulturist with Silverado Properties.

"Farmers are watching out for their farmworkers and making sure they have all the notifications in place to get them out of the field in a timely manner," said Opatz.

"It's a great safety element, but for the young fellows and the guys and gals who are in really great shape, they lose some of their paycheck," he said.

At the Graton Day Labor Center, workers are being given heat trainings — including about the signs of heat stroke and instruction in basic rights such as access to water and shade — and most were gone to jobs by early Tuesday.

"I think the employers have a genuine concern for the workers and are starting earlier," said Executive Director Ricardo Garcia.

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com.