Heat arrives early to Mountain Area

June 10, 2014 

Although the official first day of summer is June 21, an early heat wave hit the Valley and the Mountain Area last week, driving many people to Bass Lake to escape the 100 + degree weather.

Temperatures reached 107 degrees in Fresno last Sunday with the thermometer hitting 100 in the Mountain Area.

Osvaldo and Cecilia Verduzco made the hour and a half drive from Merced to the cool waters of Bass Lake with their children, Kaira, 7, and Kelton, 3.

Osvaldo, who works in the Merced County Office of Education IT department, said the family decided to visit Bass Lake to cool off.

"The children like swimming and watching all the boats on the lake,' said Cecilia.

Rene Ramirez, an industrial machine operator, and Kristal DeLaCerda, an assistant manager at a children's clothing store in Fresno, had their lawn chairs at the edge of the lake and feet in the water.

"We visit Bass Lake a lot in the summer to get out of the Valley heat," Ramirez said. "This is nice."

Tiffany Berry of Mariposa was at the lake with her twin four-year-olds, Reed and Elli, to attend the graduation party of her niece, Victoria Glanzer.

"The children love coming to Bass Lake and it's a great place to visit when it gets this hot," Berry said.

Along with the heat, comes health officials warnings about heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and suggested precautions to take.

Types of heat illnesses

Heat cramps: painful muscle spasms caused by heavy sweating. A victim of heat cramps would drink an electrolyte solution, such as Gatorade or a similar beverage used by athletes to restore potassium and salt. Seek medical attention in the case of severe cramping.

Heat exhaustion: results from the loss of fluid from sweating and not drinking enough replacement fluids. The victim still sweats but experiences extreme weakness or fatigue, giddiness, nausea, or headache. The skin is clammy and moist, while body temperatures are normal or slightly elevated. A victim of heat exhaustion should rest in a cool place and drink water or an electrolyte solution, such as Gatorade. Sever cases, in which the victim vomits or loses consciousness, may require longer treatment under medical supervision.

Heat stroke: caused by the body's failure to regulate its core temperature. Sweating stops and the body can no longer release excess heat. Signs include: mental confusion, delirium, loss of consciousness or coma, body temperature of 106 degrees or higher, and hot dry skin that may be red or bluish. Prompt first aid can prevent permanent injury to the brain and other vital organs. While waiting for medical help, the victim should be moved to a cool area. The victim's clothing should be soaked with cool water, and he or she should be fanned vigorously to increase cooling.

Precautions to prevent heat illnesses

Schedule outdoor activities for brief periods or during the early morning or evening hours to avoid the peak heat of the day.

Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing while out in the sun. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses will help keep you cool. Sunscreen or sunblock should be used.

Drink lots of liquids. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. By then, there's a chance that you're on your way to being dehydrated. When outside in the heat, it is recommended that you drink cool, fresh water throughout the day (four 8-ounce cups per hour). Avoid beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine. Both dehydrate the body.

If you start to overheat, immediately move to a cooler place, find shade, and rest.

Call 911 for serious and/or life-threatening injuries/illnesses.

Cooling Centers

Madera County has established the following locations as Cooling Centers during times of extreme summer heat. The centers will be open the days and times of the week as indicated. Other centers may be opened on an "as need" basis and will be announced through the Madera County Sheriff's Office. Centers are closed on holidays unless otherwise indicated.

Coarsegold Community Center, 35540 Highway 41, Coarsegold: Open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - (559) 683-7953.

Yosemite Lakes Park Clubhouse, 30250 Yosemite Springs Parkway, Coarsegold: Open daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. - water available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the clubhouse office - (559) 658-7466.

Oakhurst Sierra Senior Center, 49111 Cinder Lane, Oakhurst (behind Oakhurst Community Center): Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - (559) 658-2200.

North Fork Grace Community Church, 56442 Road 200, North Fork: Open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - (559) 877-2346.

For more information on county locations, contact the Sheriff's Department Office of Emergency Services, (559) 675-7770.

— Staff Report

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