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Sizzling heat to continue through weekend
Thursday’s triple-digit weather did not phase Johnny Escalera of Porterville.
That’s because he works in one of Porterville’s coolest places, literally, and can go from standing in 106 degrees to 5 degrees in a few seconds flat.
Escalera works at J.R.’s Meat Locker in Porterville, located on the corner of Cobb Street and Olive Avenue.
He is one of the lucky ones in this latest, and potentially worst, heat wave of the summer.
The cutting room, where Escalera cuts meat is a cool 40 degrees Fahrenheit. But when he walks into the meat locker, the temperature there dips to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
“I love it here especially when it is triple-digit outside. I feel like I’m a Polar Bear,” Escalera said. “But I also deliver the fine cuts to restaurants, and once I finish delivering, it’s always nice to come back and step into the cold rooms.”
Others in town are not so lucky — especially through the weekend, when sweltering, triple-digit temperatures will linger in the Valley.
“The warmest day will be Saturday,” said Brian Ochs, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford. “It’s going to hit 106 degrees.”
Friday’s and Sunday’s high is expected to be 104. On Monday, the forecast calls for a high of 102, Ochs said.
“By Tuesday, we should break the triple-digits but we’re still looking at 99 degrees,” Ochs said. “It will taper down from there, about a degree or two per day.”
Fortunately, Ochs said, Porterville does have some of the cooler weather in the San Joaquin Valley.
“Porterville tends to be one of the cooler locations in the Valley, mostly because of the agriculture. It’s a local effect,” Ochs said. “Cities like Bakersfield and Fresno, with lots of concrete, tend to experience a couple of extra degrees of heat.”
Ochs said a strong high pressure moving westward from the Desert Southwest is the culprit. Forecasters say the heat combined with rising humidity will continue through the weekend.
“We’re just now getting to the strongest part of it,” Ochs said. “We have a heat warning out for the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Foothills that is in effect from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. The temperatures will be well above average with most places hitting 105 and above between tomorrow and Sunday. Warnings are placed when the temperature reaches 105 and above for three consecutive days, and if we get hot nights over 80 degrees. You factor in the humidity into the temperature and it can get bad.”
Overnight lows, Ochs said, will be in the 70s for Porterville and in the low 80s throughout the Valley.
The sizzling weather has also prompted managers of California’s electrical grid to issue a statewide call for power conservation due to the intensifying heat wave.
The California Independent System Operator says a so-called “Flex Alert” is being declared for Friday through Sunday, but conservation will also be helpful during Thursday afternoon’s peak hours when air conditioners drive energy consumption. The “Flex Alert” is intended to prevent operating reserves from falling to the point that a Stage 1 Emergency occurs.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.