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Thursday, Jun 27 2013 02:29 PM

Triple-digit weather arrives this weekend -- with staying power

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BY LAURA LIERA Californian staff writer lliera@bakersfield.com

Triple-digit temperatures are back and this time they're staying with us for a while.

Simply put, it's going to be hot and dry this weekend.

June and July are the hottest months of the year for the valley and although no records are expected to be broken this weekend, temperatures in many locations will remain above 100 degrees into next week.

"It's going to be a dry weekend with temperatures expected to be 105 on Saturday and 108 on Sunday," said Kevin Durfee, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Hanford.

But forecasts vary. Weather Underground, provider of The Californian's weather page, predicts Bakersfield highs of 101 today, 104 Saturday and 108 on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

And if you thought it felt muggy Thursday, you were right. It was a day of extraordinarily high humidity, at least for Bakersfield, where the humidity maxed out at 75 percent, said Weather Underground.

However, forecasts call for a dry heat this weekend. And, said Durfee, when the air is dry and humidity is low, this causes a hot thermal wind that generates from the heat. With a temperature of 108 degrees, the humidity would be less than 10 percent. So not only will it be hot, but a hot breeze will also accompany the high temperatures.

This time last year, temperatures were in the low 90s and in 2011 temperatures were only in the low 80s. The highest temperature ever reported in Bakersfield was 118 degrees on July 28, 1908.

"It's important for community residents to avoid the outdoors during the hottest time of the day, 1 to 6 p.m. and just stay hydrated and drink lots of water," Durfee said.

Excessive heat can cause several health problems such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, among others.

The American Red Cross Kern Chapter offers safety tips to stay safe this summer as temperatures rise. Never leave children or pets in the car, as temperatures inside a car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Postpone outdoor games and activities. Take frequent breaks if working outside and drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol.

"Heat stress and heat strokes creep up fast so it's important to constantly drink water before you can get to the point of dehydration," said Corey Wilford, a spokesman at the Kern County Fire Department.

Wilford also suggested homeowners mow their lawn before 10 a.m. to prevent fire hazards. High temperatures in Kern bring about fire incidents for firefighters and they want to prevent fires with the help of homeowners, he said.

Bakersfield, Tehachapi and the Frazier Park area are on excessive heat watch for the weekend. This means that a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures is expected.

The NWS forecast high for Tehachapi for today is 91 (Weather Underground predicts a hotter 97). NWS highs for Tehachapi are Saturday, 92; Sunday, 96; and Monday, 96.

Weather Undergound says the temperatures today will reach: 94 in Frazier Park, 101 in Arvin, Shafter and Taft, 102 in Visalia and 103 in Fresno, McFarland and Delano. Mojave should reach 106, Lake Isabella 99 and Edwards Air Force Base 112.

To find the closest cooling center visit www.co.kern.ca.us.

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