With temperatures soaring and snowmelt-swollen rivers too dangerous to dip a toe into, some Fresno residents on Father’s Day found an inspired place to cool off Father’s Day at a new city park.
About 20 to 30 kids and parents found their way to the water feature at Inspiration Park, on the corner of Vista and Gettysburg avenues west of Highway 99 in Fresno, to get a little relief Sunday from a daytime high that was expected to hit 106. That would tie a record for the date set back in 1945.
“We’re trying to beat the heat so we decided to finally come out to this new park we have been hearing so much about,” said Maribel Ternate, 36, who came with her husband and their two young children. “With how close and safe it is, this is a perfect option.”
For some parents, the notion of hitting a river or lake in a year when heavy runoff has let to numerous drownings was not appealing.
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Dion Slider, 26, father of a young boy and girl, said that with the increased heat and danger from the rivers, he was going to try and keep his kids at the water parks and pools this summer.
“We will probably just stick with going to the water parks like here or Island (Waterpark), or maybe just swim in a pool,” he said.
Dennis Jacobsen, 38, said that with the summer heat now hitting the region, he expected he would probably be bringing his two kids out to the water park more often.
“Coming out and taking kids out here to the water park is a really easy and fun way to keep the kids cool over the summer,” Jacobsen said. “We usually like to go out to the lake but I haven’t been out there in awhile. But with the water levels too high I think we’ll just stick to this for the little ones.”
Elsewhere in Fresno, the heat made it difficult for families to get out on Father’s Day. Monica Agrawal, 36, brought her family to Storyland but said the heat made it impossible to take her kids anywhere.
“We came by mostly for the cool zone,” Agrawal said. “Its so difficult to take my kids to outdoor activities because of the heat and the risk. We can’t do most of the things we kind of wish we could.”
Sunday’s triple-digit temperatures were just the start of a long string of searing days. An excessive heat warning is in place through Thursday night, and temperatures in Fresno are expected to hit 110 for at least the next four days, according to the National Weather Service. Relief – if you can call it that – is expected to arrive by next weekend, when temperatures are likely to be closer to 100.
As temperatures rise past 100, Valley residents are likely to be seeking some place to cool off, but Dan Harty of the National Weather Service is advising people stay away from area rivers.
“With the rise in temperature,” Harty said, “we also have a rise in snowmelt, which makes rivers more dangerous and swift.”
The National Weather Service is also advising people to limit as much outdoor activity as possible and to stay hydrated as temperatures rise this week.
With the dangerous water conditions, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office has closed all rivers from the Pine Flat Dam to the county line from swimming, boating, rafting and any other recreational activities, according to Lt. Kathy Curtice of Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
Curtice said that the sheriff’s office will have its boating and search and rescue teams fully staffed as the heat builds to help prevent any drownings or respond to rescues.
“We currently have a search and rescue team out right now that is on active duty ready to go if called out to anything,” Curtice said. “If we can prevent any injuries or drownings that may occur then that is our main goal.”