The worst is yet to come.
That’s the message of the National Weather Service as today’s high in Manteca is expected to reach 108 degrees – 4 degrees hotter than Monday — with the peak of the heat wave predicted for Wednesday when the temperature could reach 110 degrees.
Manteca officials are taking no chances. They enlisted volunteers to check on the health and welfare of those living in mobile home parks Monday. They also have cancelled tonight’s farmers market due to the heat and extended the cooling center’s operation through at least Thursday.
Making matters worse is the overnight low last night and tonight has been predicted not to drop below 73 degrees. As of 11 p.m. Monday the weather station at the Civic Center was providing a reading of 86 degrees.
. The city, understanding that not everybody has air conditioning, extended the cooling center’s operation at the Manteca Senior Center and instigated the welfare checks.
Also those who do have air conditioning can’t necessarily afford to run it all day.
And with a heat emergency declared in San Joaquin County and temperatures up and down the 450-mile Central Valley topping 100 degrees, not having a cool place to go could literally kill you.
Jason Coenenberg doesn’t want to see that happen. In fact, he’s doing his part to make sure that it doesn’t happen, He’s helping staff one of Manteca’s two cooling centers for those that don’t necessarily have anywhere else to go when it gets to be too unbearable to be anywhere else.
Along with the rest of Manteca’s Community Emergency Response Team, Coenenberg is one of Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters’ secret weapons in the war against the elements.
“We’re encouraging people to stay indoors as much as possible, and to stay hydrated, even if you’re not thirsty,” Waters said. “People should try and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages because those can dehydrate you faster, and know what to look for when it comes to signs of heat-related illness.
“Headache, hot and dry skin, vomiting, an inability to sweat – these are all symptoms that something is wrong and somebody needs to get medical attention right away. It’s something that everybody should be aware of.”
Local organizers aren’t taking any chances when it comes to dealing with the heat.
City officials made the decision late Monday afternoon that the weekly Farmer’s Market – typically held on Tuesday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Library Park – would be canceled this week. The event is organized by the Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau, and receives support from other local groups.
John Van Fossen took vacation from work when he got a phone call from Waters asking him to spearhead the CERT effort. He spent most of his Monday visiting Manteca’s trailer parks and letting residents know about the services that the city was offering at both the Senior Center and the Library.
Les Reile and Bob Reischman spent their afternoon telling stories and talking while the pavement roasted outside of the senior center. Reischman said he came down to the center at 295 Cherry Lane on Sunday afternoon, when it was first announced that the city would be opening up the doors, and discovered that only a handful of people were there.
Regardless of the turnout, providing something for those who might not have the resources, he said, is a good idea.
“Not everybody has air conditioning, but if you have it you have to turn it on right now,” he said. “I try and stay out of the house for as long as I can and when I come back and I turn it on – it only takes about 20 minutes or so for the house to cool down.
“I’ve got two fans and they help a lot. But if somebody doesn’t have something like that, this is a good place for them to go.”
The Manteca Senior Center, which normally closes at 3 p.m., will remain open today until 8 p.m. for those who need a break from the heat. It will maintain the same hours through Thursday. The Manteca Public Library will be open for those on the other side of town today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Wednesday from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be closed on Thursday.