Fresno could hit 90 again before weather begins to cool

The Fresno BeeApril 9, 2014 

Fresno is in the running Thursday for its third straight 90-degree high.

But through the weekend, temperatures should dip a little into the mid 80s, and down to the low 80s by Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The normal high in Fresno for this time of year is about 73 degrees -- some 17 degrees cooler than Wednesday's high of 90, said Cindy Bean, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.

While the early months of 2014 have been warmer than early last year, it's still too soon to say whether the current warming trend will be a record breaker, she said.

"Spring is a changeable time," Bean said. "We expect systems to still be moving through at times and unless we get a big ridge of high pressure over us for much of the month, I don't know if we'll break records or not. We definitely have seen 100-degree days in April before. It's not impossible."

The last time Fresno saw April temperatures of 100-degrees or higher was in 1981, according to the National Weather Service. Last year, the first 100-degree or higher temperature in Fresno came May 12.

But looking at monthly average temperature data, Fresno had its hottest April on the books last year -- 67.6 degrees.

And last month, the average Fresno temperature was 62.4 degrees -- about five degrees hotter than the normal average for March, Bean said.

No showers are expected in the central San Joaquin Valley at least for the next week, Bean said, although a slight chance of showers could sprinkle the high Sierra on Friday.

Snowpack is at about 33% of normal in the southern Sierra Nevada, Bean said.

That's not a comforting thought for many in Fresno County -- one of 17 California counties experiencing exceptional drought conditions, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The recent heat has caused an uptick in visitors to Fresno parks, said Tony Hernandez, who oversees the planned maintenance and custodial work for the city's more than 70 parks. If warm conditions persist, the city's three "splash" water parks may open sooner than they normally do in mid-May, he said.

Waiting at a bus stop near Fresno State on Wednesday, Fresno resident Liz Cabe was relishing the sunshine wearing flip-flops, sunglasses and a long, aqua skirt.

"I know we need the rain," Cabe said, "but it's nice having warm weather again."

But nearby, waiting for a smoothie and wearing a long winter coat, Antoneya Graves of Fresno expressed her concerns.

With little rain this season, farmers' crops are in danger, Graves said, adding that high temperatures are especially dangerous for the elderly and those on a fixed income, who can't afford air conditioner upgrades and installation.

Bean acknowledged the rapid rise in temperatures, and offered a warning:

"Stay hydrated when its warm, and watch out for those who are susceptible to the heat as we go into the summer months."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386, cgeorge@fresnobee.com or @CarmenGeorge on Twitter.

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