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Bakersfield records hottest July in history

The National Weather Service in Hanford reported Bakersfield’s average July temperatures were the hottest on record since 1893, averaging to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The second-hottest month of July was in 1931, with average temperatures reaching 89.7 degrees. The year 2018 was third with 89.5 degrees and 2017 came in fourth with 89.1 degrees.

Out of the 31 days in July, 28 days experienced triple-digits. On average, Bakersfield temperatures in July skyrocket to triple-digits about 16 to 17 days a month, said Colin McKellar, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.

Every single day, besides three, saw temperatures increase above average, or 100 degrees or higher, according to the National Weather Service.

The scorching weather can be explained by the “heat domes” that envelop a region and trap heat, McKellar said. These weather patterns persist and disallow cooler temperatures, he added.

Sweltering summers can cause heatstroke, exacerbate chronic illnesses and worsen mental health conditions, said Dr. Matthew Beare, the medical director for special populations with Clinica Sierra Vista. However, even treating patients during a heat wave poses problems for patients and doctors. Doctors in his team travel to tents for treatment around 6 a.m. so at-risk individuals can reduce sun exposure, Beare said.

At-risk individuals are negatively affected by the heat, Beare said. Beare added that even simply picking up a prescription from a pharmacy can cause difficulties for people experiencing homelessness. Walking for two or more hours under the baking sun can cause serious injury, Beare said.

“That’s a dangerous situation,” he added. “Every decision has to be made under the condition of extreme heat. Heat just makes managing patients in this environment probably 50 percent more difficult.”

On July 11, Bakersfield experienced an all-time high temperature of 111 degrees — this temperature is the highest recorded on that day since 1887. The year 1887 marks the time meteorologists employed instruments to ascertain weather data, McKellar said.

The heat can also cause problems for the power grid, said Katie Allen, the public information officer for the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in the Kern region. Allen recommends lowering the thermostat to 78 degrees at home, or 85 degrees when no one occupies the residence, to reduce blackouts and brownouts.

PG&E has also prepared to potentially rotate outages, Allen said.

Conditions such as chronic lung disease, constipation and asthma also become exacerbated by the heat, Beare said.

However, no one is left unharmed from the heat, Beare added. Drinking water and electrolytes can offset major problems sustained from heat overexposure and sweating, he said.

Editor's note: The article has been updated to reflect the correct temperature statistics.