Accuweather senior meteorologist Ken Clark said Tuesday, July 10, that daytime highs in Tracy and Mountain House will top 100 degrees through Friday, when breezes rushing off the Delta from the Bay Area should help cool the valley.
Until then, Clark said, an area of high atmospheric pressure over Utah will prevent the cooler coastal air from reaching inland to the valley.
“It’s not terribly unusual,” Clark said. “It’s keeping the marine air right on the coast.”
He expects Tracy-area highs Wednesday and Thursday to top out at about 106, before dropping down to the mid-90s over the weekend.
Thunderstorms could also bring spotty rain and lightning to the Sierras on Thursday and Friday, Clark said. He added that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the storms spark fires, given the dry conditions across the state.
“These thunderstorms will contain rain, but that doesn’t mean the lightning is confined to where it’s raining,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to start a fire.”
The high heat has power officials on alert, according to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman Nicole Liebelt.
She said the utility company is asking customers to avoid using electricity when they can during the heat wave, as air conditioners can put a strain on the electrical grid. But Liebelt said in her six years with the company, there haven’t been rolling blackouts because of high demand, and she doesn’t anticipate problems over the next couple days.
“We work closely with the (California Independent System Operator) to monitor the grid and to ensure PG&E has the appropriate amount of supply to meet the electric demands for our customers throughout our service area, which stretches from Bakersfield to the Oregon border,” Liebelt said, referring to the organization that manages the state’s high-voltage, long-distance power lines.
But she urged residents to do what they must to keep cool, as people can become ill and even die from overheating.
If people don’t have or cannot afford air conditioning, several options are available.
Liebelt recommended residents seek out air-conditioned public places, such as the West Valley Mall at 3200 Naglee Road or the Tracy Transit Station at Sixth Street and Central Avenue.
Tracy’s public bus service, Tracer, offers free rides to and from the mall on days when the air temperature is higher than 95 degrees.
Health officials also urge residents to drink plenty of fluids, avoid outdoor activity when possible, and pay attention to signs of heat sickness.
Signs of a heat-related illness include muscle cramps, tiredness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and fainting, according to health professionals, Sutter Gould pediatrician Dr. Daisy Jones told the Press in late June.