Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We're having a heat wave: What to expect as 100s arrive

As it appears now, the summer of 2017 will be ushered in by the first protracted heat wave of the season. Here is the outlook from the National Weather Service:
High pressure builds across northern California this week, continuing into the weekend. High temperatures Friday and into the weekend will increase heat related illnesses for those exposed to prolonged outdoor heat, especially the elderly, children, and other sensitive groups.

Long outdoor exposures will increase chances for heat related illness, especially for sensitive groups
Heat stress to livestock with limited relief from heat overnight
Area waterways running very cold & fast, increasing risk for hypothermia, water rescues

Forecast Confidence

Timing and Strength
Near to above normal across interior northern California Today-Thursday.
High temperatures going much above normal with increasing risk for heat related illnesses late this week and into the weekend.
Valley highs reaching the 100 degree mark Friday, hotter Saturday-Monday
Very warm overnight temperatures, 70 or above for many locations
Farmers are being advised to prepare. Bryan Little, director of employment policy for the California Farm Bureau Federation and chief operating officer of Farm Employers Labor Service, advises that CalOSHA will be enforcing the Heat Illness Prevention standard for outdoor employment. According to Little, the standard includes the following requirements:
--Water must be "fresh, pure, suitably cool" and located as close as practicable to where employees are working, with exceptions when employers can demonstrate infeasibility.
--Shade must be present at 80 degrees, and must accommodate all employees on recovery or rest periods, plus those on site who are taking meal breaks.
--Employees taking a "preventive cool-down rest" must be monitored for symptoms of heat illness, encouraged to remain in the shade and not ordered back to work until symptoms are gone. Employees with symptoms must be provided appropriate first aid or emergency response.
--High-heat procedures, triggered at 95 degrees, have been tightened. Employers must ensure "effective" observation and monitoring, including a mandatory buddy system and regular communication with employees working by themselves. In a provision exclusive to agriculture, employees must be provided with a minimum 10-minute cool-down period every two hours during high-heat periods.
--Emergency response procedures must include effective communication, response to signs and symptoms of heat illness, and procedures for contacting emergency responders to help stricken workers.
--Acclimation procedures must include close observation of all employees during a heat wave—defined as temperatures of at least 80 degrees. New employees must be closely observed for their first two weeks on the job.
As I reported yesterday, the heat wave may hasten snowmelt into reservoirs that are in many cases already more than 90 percent full. Shasta Lake, for instance, is at 95 percent of its capacity and 113 percent of its historical average.

Keep watch at for updates on weather impacts as the summer gets going.

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