VALE – As temperatures rise close to the 100s early Thursday morning, the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the Treasure Valley through Saturday night for temperatures between 100 and 107 degrees.
The weather service warning comes as the rest of the state braces for high temperatures as well.
On Tuesday, Governor Kate Brown issued a state of emergency in 25 Oregon counties for predictions of high heat from July 25-31.
The declaration did not include Malheur County.
David Groenert, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boise, said the local area will see above normal temperatures with new records set in some places over the next seven days.
“Normal for this time of year is the low to mid 90s,” said Groenert.
How long the high temperatures are hard to determine, he said.
“Generally, I’d say seven days is our best eye. Beyond that, unless all the different models are showing the same thing, after seven days you generally start to lose confidence,” said Groenert.
Groenert said the heat will probably stick around until “the end of the month.”
The high temperature for Thursday, July 28 is 106 degrees. Friday local residents should expect to see a high of 106 and 105 on Saturday. Sunday the high temperature is expected to be 106 again. Monday the high temperature is forecast to be 101.
The heat is expected to break slightly by Tuesday with a high expected at 96.
This week’s temperatures will flirt with late July heat records for Malheur County. The hottest recorded July day temperature was 113 degrees in 1967. However, for the last week of July the hottest it’s ever been is 109 degrees, according to historical weather data from the National Weather Service.
Paul Woodworth, Oregon Department of Transportation District Manager said, “It’s just a normal summer for us.” His crews are used to working in the heat, but when it gets this hot, they begin to follow Occupational Safety and Health Guidelines for heat, including a mandated increase in breaks. “That’s just good common sense,” Woodworth said.
Ontario Fire Chief Terry Leighton said that he expects to see an increase in cases of heat exhaustion and people should take caution in the coming days — especially if they are working outside or have little access to air conditioning.
The state does provide weatherization services at no cost to households below 60 percent of the statewide median income or up to 200% of the federal poverty level. These services can include home insulation to protect from excessive and in some cases the installation of air conditioning in older homes. In Malheur County these services are provided by Community in Action and eligibility requirements and applications can be found HERE.
Signs of heat exhaustion include: Heavy sweating; painful muscle cramps; extreme weakness or fatigue; nausea and or vomiting; fainting; a fast and weak pulse; breathing fast and shallow and clammy, pale, cool skin.
Symptoms of heat stroke are: no sweating; mental confusion, dizziness; hot and dry skin and a rapid and weak pulse; throbbing headache and shallow breathing; unconsciousness and a body temperature ranges from 102 degrees to 104 degrees or higher.
As heat mirages become visible on the roadways and temperatures climb, the National Weather Service suggests drinking more fluids, staying in air-conditioned spaces and shade whenever possible, wearing a brimmed hat, and checking in on neighbors. During an excessive heat warning, it’s also recommended to work outside early in the morning or late into the evening, if possible.
Ontario has two cooling centers available for heat shelter during the day. The first is at Four Rivers Cultural Center which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. New Hope Day Shelter at Origins on 312 NW 2nd St in Ontario is also offering cooling services and serving meals. The meal service is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and they’re open Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Origins is providing cold showers as well which have been busy as the temperatures have climbed into the mid-100s.
For families looking to beat the heat and take advantage of local pools, the Ontario Splash Park and Vale City Pool are open this week. The Vale City Pool is hosting a free open swim on Friday to welcome Olympian Bella Sims to town and celebrate the Dream Big Fund, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Open swim is also open from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday evening, and from 1 to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Admission to the Vale City Pool is $4. The Splash pad is open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the cost is 1$.
EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM – Available for $5 a month. Subscribe to the digital service of the Enterprise and get the very best in local journalism. We report with care, attention to accuracy, and an unwavering devotion to fairness. Get the kind of news you’ve been looking for – day in and day out from the Enterprise.