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Triple-digit highs expected in Sonoma County as weekend heat wave arrives


If your dad’s the kind of guy who loves hot weather, then he’s in luck.

A string of very warm days lie ahead, but Sunday — Father’s Day — should be the hottest, all the more reason for grateful families to flock to the coast or to their favorite swimming holes.

With the mercury reaching into the triple digits in the warmest places, residents around the greater Bay Area are being urged to do whatever is necessary to stay cool and hydrated, and to exercise care.

“People aren’t necessarily acclimated for that yet,” Assistant Santa Rosa Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal said. “We’re talking about 20-plus degrees above average.”

Temperatures have been creeping up all week, under a high-pressure system overhead, but by Friday should be solidly in the mid- to upper 90s around the region, inching higher Saturday and Sunday before beginning to drop.

Even then, residents can expect daily highs to remain above the 90-degree mark through most of next week, according to Rick Canepa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“It’s kind of a stagnant pattern,” Canepa said.

The weather service has put a heat advisory into effect from 11 a.m. Saturday to 11 p.m. Monday, when temperature and humidity will be high, exposing people to the threat of heat-related illness.

Particularly vulnerable are babies and children up to age 4, the elderly, those who are obese or disabled, and anyone who works or exercises outside, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“This is where we’re most concerned about heat-related illness,” Lowenthal said.

People with medical conditions or who take medications also may have reduced ability to adapt to changing temperatures, experts say.

Lowenthal noted that the three-day Country Summer Festival starting Friday at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds will draw a large number of people out into the sun during the worst part of the heat wave.

“We’re just trying to get the message out there to make sure people are prepared to be in the heat, to hydrate and drink plenty of water and dress appropriately,” he said.

The health risks of extreme heat include heat rash or cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which occurs when a person cannot sweat sufficiently to regulate his or her body temperature for any number of reasons, potentially causing permanent brain or organ damage, or even death.

Experts recommend drinking lots of fluids while avoiding sugary or alcoholic drinks; staying where it’s cool or air conditioned; avoiding exertion in the heat and wearing light-weight, light-colored clothes.

Special care may be needed with pets, livestock and crops, as well, the National Weather Service said. To begin with, hot asphalt or pavement can burn a pet’s paws.

Pets traveling in vehicles pose a special danger because of the speed with which the interior can heat up, posing a serious and potentially deadly threat to animals left inside.

An outside temperature of 80 degrees can quickly climb, reaching 99 degrees in 10 minutes, 109 degrees in 20 minutes and so on, the National Weather Service said.

Even with four windows cracked, the temperature can increase 20 percent in a mere 10 minutes, the Sonoma County Humane Society says. So if it’s over 70 degrees, the agency advised, “leave your pets at home!”

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.