Mercury hits 108 as Valley residents try to beat the heat

The Fresno BeeJuly 1, 2014 

Some hid in the shade at Courthouse Park while others stayed indoors with the air conditioning at full blast.

In Fresno on Tuesday, people who had business downtown dealt with the triple-digit heat as best as they could. Temperatures reached a high of 108 degrees Tuesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Christine Riley said.

While scorching, that was well off the all-time high for the date of 114, set in 1891.

Gregory Bennett, a facility services employee for the county for seven years, is originally from San Francisco. Over the years he's learned to cope with the Valley heat.

"You just gotta deal with it," Bennett said as he walked through downtown. "I try to stay inside at work and only walk in the shade."

Bennett also said he visits his hometown on the weekends when temperatures get too hot.

"It's much cooler there," Bennett said. "It's a good way to beat the heat."

Other local cities broke the century mark on Tuesday as well. Madera and Visalia both reached 104 degrees, Merced topped out at 103 degrees, and Hanford residents endured 107 degree heat, Riley said.

The forecast through the holiday weekend will not give Valley residents much of a break. Fresno will reach a high of 104 degrees today and 103 degrees on Thursday. On the 4th of July holiday it will be 104 degrees. A minor temperature drop in the forecast is expected for the weekend, with Saturday's high expected to reach 101 degrees and Sunday at 102 degrees.

The cause the heat spell is high pressure in the atmosphere that allows air to warm up. Winds are also light. For that reason, pollutants can build up, and there is an advisory that the air will be unhealthy today for those sensitive to pollution in Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties, as well as Sequoia National Park.

The reporter can be reached at smartin@fresnobee.com or @SharonBMartin on Twitter, and kelwood@fresnobee.com.

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