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California warns residents to be on alert as temperatures hit triple digits

California warns residents to be on alert as temperatures hit triple digits

Despite promises, California doesn’t know how many people died in record summer heat wave in record July, state officials say

As temperatures hit triple digits and record humidity enveloped the state, officials in California warned residents to be on alert.

“The concern is a dangerous heat stroke. You could die if you don’t take the proper precautions,” said Dr. Eric Redfern, health officer for Kern County, who advised residents to drink plenty of cool liquids, get plenty of rest and have shade to combat the heat.

On Monday, forecasters said that heat advisories would remain in effect until Wednesday, May 14.

At the time of publication, the highest temperature in the San Joaquin Valley is 91 degrees, in Bakersfield, while the lowest reading was 46.3 degrees, at Marysville, in Central California. The statewide average temperature is at 86.

“We’re seeing temperatures that are higher than we’ve ever seen before,” said Dr. Andrew Smith, public health manager for the California Department of Public Health. “You can’t underestimate this.”

Smith said the heat was being caused by several factors, including higher-than-normal wind speeds.

In particular, he said, “We’re seeing a lot of wind-driven dust events hitting the state, which has been exacerbated by the dry conditions in the northern part of the state.” The high elevation of the San Joaquin Valley means the low-pressure system that usually causes wind-driven dust events, Smith said, could be blocked from reaching the state’s Central Valley.

Redfern and Smith added, “It also means that the heat doesn’t simply transfer from the mountains to the central valley and then south to Northern California.”

But the state’s public health officials added that people should not wait to take action.

Dr. Tom Wertz, a San Joaquin Valley public health officer who has led an effort to warn residents about the dangers posed by the heat, said, “We are seeing significant increases in the numbers of heat-related deaths.

“It’s clear that Californians’ failure to take precautions in advance is creating the conditions that will lead to a much higher number of heat-related deaths that we forecast for 2015,” he said.

That’s not a new concern.

In 2013

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