Excessive heat warnings call for cool heads


The National Weather Service (NWS) out of Phoenix has forecasted excessive heat warnings for Southern California through Saturday, June 24, but for Imperial Valley residents, the high temperatures are expected to continue throughout the summer and into the fall. Some have predicted Imperial County temps may reach highs of 120 degrees.

On a precautionary note, the Service warns people in the desert region to never leave kids or pets unattended in cars, to drink more water than usual and avoid alcohol, sugar, and caffeine. The weather service also cautions when outdoors to wear light colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to keep the head and body cooler.

People working in the heat or exercising outdoors during the daytime are more at risk for heat related illness, even death, as well as the elderly and those without adequate air conditioning, according to weather service officials.

If one must be in the heat, remember to take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments, according to the NWS.

Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness are headache, thirst, and muscle cramps. Serious symptoms include weakness, skin that is cool to the touch, a fast but weak pulse, nausea, and fainting. Severe symptoms include hot and red dry skin, fast and strong pulse, sweating that has stopped and unconsciousness.

Untreated heat illness can lead to fatal heat stroke.

To help during times of excessive heat, Imperial County has Cool Centers located in each town for residents who may not have a safe, cool place:

All Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo clinics in Blythe, Brawley, Calexico, Coachella, El Centro, Mecca, Niland, West Shores, Winterhaven.

Brawley: Brawley Open Health Center; Brawley Senior Center; Brawley Public Library.

Calexico: Camarena Public Library

Imperial County Free Library: Calipatria, Heber, Holtville, Salton City.

Westmorland: Senior Citizen Building

El Centro: Salvation Army Thrift Store; El Centro Community Center; Adult Center; Imperial Valley Mall Food Court.

Holtville: Civic Center

Imperial: IV EXPO; Chamber of Commerce; Imperial Public Library.

Niland: Chamber of Commerce

Ocotillo: Imperial Valley Desert Museum

Seeley: Seeley Community Church

Winterhaven: San Pasqual Family Resource Center