Heat Wave Descends on East Bay Hills and I-80 Corridor This Weekend

A view of San Francisco. (KQED)

After a relatively mild July, a potentially dangerous heat wave is expected to descend across a vast swath of East Bay and Central California cities and towns this weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a heat advisory for the East Bay inland hills and valleys from Concord to Livermore; the I-80 corridor from Vallejo out past Sacramento into El Dorado County; and for the 450-mile stretch between Bakersfield and Redding.

Weather officials expect the heat to start up Saturday morning by 11, and last through 11 p.m. Sunday. With temperatures reaching 105 degrees in the East Bay and 109 degrees in the Central Valley, NWS meteorologist Spencer Tangen says people need to be ready.

“They’ll have to watch out for these hot temperatures,” he said, “and think about what they can do to prepare for them.”

Tangen says it’s important to stay hydrated, reschedule any outside work or exercise to the morning if possible, and avoid high midday temperatures.

People without access to air conditioning or a pool can find themselves in a dangerous situation.

A KQED investigation of home temperatures in Antioch and other places around the Bay Area last summer found that staying inside all day and night in a home without air conditioning can be the worst thing to do in a heat wave; every home we measured stayed hotter inside than outside — as much as 15 to 20 degrees hotter. And they stayed hot well into the night, when people’s bodies need to cool off to prevent heat from building up.

To protect yourself, seek out public areas with air conditioning such as malls, grocery stores or libraries, and check out this list of cooling centers near the Bay Area.

State public health officials also recommend checking on neighbors and vulnerable people such as the elderly, small children, those who live alone, and those with chronic illness (check out this list to learn which medications and conditions might make you especially susceptible to heat-related illnesses).

Public health officials say everyone should know how to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion (dizziness, excessive sweating, cramps, and nausea) and the more medically threatening condition, heat stroke (headache, rapid breathing, nausea, a racing heart rate, and absence of sweating).

In the case of heat exhaustion, move to a cool place, air-conditioned if possible, and drink plenty of water. If you suspect heat stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately and keep yourself or the other person cool until help arrives.

Meteorologist Tangen says this weekend’s heat wave is caused by an area of high pressure sweeping over the region. In contrast to June’s heat wave, temperatures around San Francisco Bay will stay slightly cooler this weekend. Tangen says this is because of a weather pattern called offshore flow, in which cooling winds blow from the ocean to the land and act as “natural air conditioning.” The inland areas where temperatures are expected to climb higher do not receive the cooling effects of offshore flow.

The heat wave is expected to be over late Sunday night.

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