The temperature reached a high of 103 degrees at 5:06 p.m. Tuesday at the Manteca Civic Center.
But even with a high that passed the century mark and the forecast for 106 degrees today and 103 degrees on Thursday before dropping back into the high 90s Manteca didn’t open the nearby Senior Center as a cooling shelter.
The last two times that the City of Manteca opened the Senior Center as a cooling shelter during a heat wave they didn’t get any business.
So this time they’re listening to the recommendation of the California Office of Emergency Services and putting the idea on hold for the time being.
According to Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters, volunteers are on standby so a decision to open a cooling center could happen almost immediately.
“I think that we’ve got the programs in place and the great thing about Manteca is you can’t go anywhere else and find the level of compassion that we have in our volunteers,” Waters said. “It’s pretty amazing to be able to put something like this on standby and know that in just a few phone calls it will be up and running.
“It’s a situation that we’re going to monitor closely.”
According to a map prepared by the National Weather Service, the heat wave will roll across the majority of Northern California and affect certain pockets more than others. Traditionally hot places like Redding, Woodland and Chico are mapped as red – classified as dangerous heat that happens only a few times a year with impacts likely even for the general population if precautions aren’t taken – while Manteca appears to fall into a category where it would technically mean that it’s relatively easy to take simple precautions to stay safe.
One swath of the map – extending slightly west of Woodland and I-5 up to around Clear Lake – is rated as highly likely on the scale of potential heat impacts.
Experts recommend that if outdoors stay in the shade and wear lightweight clothing and not to partake in strenuous activities like jogging or bicycle riding except during the coolest portions of the day. They suggest that people stay indoors in air conditioned homes or businesses or to possibly head over to the coast for relief. Extra attention should be paid to pets, livestock and other sensitive groups and everybody, regardless of the situation, should stay hydrated and stock up on extra water.
The State OES office could change their recommendation at any time, Waters said, and noted that they typically follow a formula to activate cooling centers if the temperature stays above 80 degrees at nighttime and if it’s over 105 degrees for consecutive days. Manteca could choose to override that recommendation, as they have in the past, if they feel that it’s for the public good to do so.
Waters said that he already has calls in to the Manteca Senior Center, which would cordon off a section specifically for the cooling center, as well as to local volunteer groups like CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team, and SAFE, Seniors Assisting Fire Effort.