© 2024 KVPR | Valley Public Radio - White Ash Broadcasting, Inc. :: 89.3 Fresno / 89.1 Bakersfield
89.3 Fresno | 89.1 Bakersfield
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

First heat wave of the year arrives with searing temperatures

Food vendors set up outside the Mexican consulate office as a long line of people waited to cast a vote in Mexico's presidential election. Voters in Fresno were among thousands who voted from abroad in Mexico's biggest election, which saw a woman become president for the first time in history.
Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado
Food vendors set up outside the Mexican consulate office as a long line of people braved the heat to cast a vote in Mexico's presidential election on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

Click here to find the latest headlines from KVPR.

FRESNO, Calif. – Summer is still a few weeks away but that isn’t stopping excessive heat from suffocating much of inland California right now.

Parts of the San Joaquin Valley reached daily heat records Thursday afternoon, as temperatures soared as high as 107 degrees.

Andy Bollenbacher, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Hanford, said the heat is due to a high ridge of pressure that is hanging over the region.

“It kind of acts like a pressure cooker … and that leads to afternoon highs soaring 15 to as much as 20 degrees above average across the forecast area,” he said.

He says the system is causing heat to linger through the night and early morning hours. That, Bollenbacher said, can create stress on people, especially if they are exposed to the heat and don’t have adequate access to shelter or air conditioning.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health warned individuals with chronic health conditions are especially sensitive to extreme temperatures and they should take extra measures to prevent heat exhaustion. Excessively high temperatures can cause heat stroke, and possible death, the department said.

“Every heat-related death can be prevented,” Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County Interim Health Officer, said.

Temperatures will taper down into the 90s this weekend. That’s still toasty, but it’s a slight respite from the first heat wave of the year ahead of summer. Another heat wave will arrive Tuesday.

The triple digits also delayed graduation ceremonies at local high schools, some by as much as two hours. School officials recommended guests drink lots of water, dress in breathable fabrics and sunscreen to stay safe in the heat.

Meanwhile, several cities have activated cooling centers. Residents were also warned to use caution around rivers as they seek breaks from the heat.

Sequoia National Park officials reported they’ve conducted two water rescues on the Kaweah River in recent weeks. To remain safe, park officials are encouraging visitors to enjoy lakes where the water is calmer and there are designated swimming areas.

It also recommended residents be mindful of slippery rocks near the edge of water bodies. Even smaller rivers can have currents that are stronger than they appear.

On Thursday, a Kern County search-and-rescue team recovered a dead body from the Kern River. Last month, a teenage boy also drowned in the Merced River after boarding a kayak in the fast-flowing water.

KVPR staffers Joshua Yeager, Esther Quintanilla and Elizabeth Arakelian contributed to this report.