Cooling Down in the San Diego Heat

San Diego
San Diego

San Diego awakened this morning to glaring sunshine and warm, dry breezes. With temperatures rising into the eighties (and the nineties in outlying areas like Ramona), students across the county couldn’t wait to get out of school and cool off. Solar covers were flung off of swimming pools faster than a frisbee to a forehead, and anyone without a pool in the neighborhood probably spent their afternoon in the sprinklers or sitting in front of an air conditioner.

Tomorrow’s temperatures are predicted to be even higher, up to 98 degrees in Borrego Springs, continuing to rise on Wednesday morning.

This all might sound enviable if you’re looking at severe thunderstorms in Texas, or tornadoes in Kansas, but the San Diego weather is not without worries.

Just a few days ago the Union-Tribune reported that California is facing the worst fire conditions in almost a century.

Several indicators, especially fuel moisture levels, add up to tremendous fire potential

said San Diego fire Deputy Chief of Operations Jeff Carle. This is particularly frightening now, with the memory of the Cedar wildfire, which took 2,400 homes and fifteen lives, still fresh in our memories.

Historically, the state has declared fire season between May and June, but the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CDF) declared that fire season started last Monday in San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties. Today they kicked off CAL FIRE Wildfire Awareness Week with a tour of public events, which should arrive in El Cajon on Friday.

For the elderly in particular, the heat can be both expensive and dangerous. If you live on the coast, you can do without air conditioning, letting the ocean breezes do the cooling on most days. Those living inland are not so lucky, and many of our aging population must forego air conditioning to cut down on expensive energy bills.

Each year, dozens of people, most of them elderly, die of heat-related causes in California. Hoping to save lives, San Diego’s Aging and Independence Services (AIS) is now coordinating Cool Zones, offering places for senior citizens to escape mid-day heat and reduce their own air conditioning use. People with special needs and the general public can also visit these sites, normally located in senior centers and public buildings.

SDG&E is working with AIS to enable seniors without transportation to get to a Cool Zones site. They are also offering free portable fans for seniors and the disabled, if they cannot afford them.

To find a Cool Zone in your community, call (800) 510-2020, or visit the Utility Consumers’ Action Network or the San Diego Eldercare Directory and click on your area under Cool Zone sites.

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