After Bakersfield residents enjoyed the 31st coolest May on record — and the sixth wettest — this week’s transition to triple-digit temperatures may seem even more cruel than usual.

A ridge of atmospheric high pressure ushered in a high of 103 on Monday and even higher temps are expected Tuesday, said Cindy Bean, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Hanford.

“On Tuesday, we’re forecasting 104 degrees for Bakersfield, but some outlying communities like Arvin — and even downtown Bakersfield — could see 105 or 106,” Bean said.

Fortunately, Tuesday marks the peak of this week’s heat wave, and Wednesday’s temperatures should ease slightly, topping off at 102 at Meadows Field and a degree or two higher in Bakersfield’s urban centers.

Temps will continue to ease as the week progresses, but not by much, dropping into the high-90s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“This has been our first real taste,” Bean said of the arrival of the seasonal heat patterns the southern valley typically sees in late spring.

And summer lies ahead.

One of the big dangers of this transition period, Bean said, is that valley residents sometimes tend to behave as they have before the heat arrived.

Not staying hydrated, getting too much sun, or exposing children to the elements without recognizing the dangers can result in tragic consequences.

An excessive heat warning remains in effect in Bakersfield and other southern San Joaquin Valley communities until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Heat related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are likely. People most vulnerable to heat related illnesses include those who spend a lot of time outdoors, those who do not have air conditioning, young children, the elderly, and those with chronic ailments.

Now is the time to think twice about outdoor activities, to check on children and pets, and stay safe, Bean said.

And of the expected mild cool-down?

Said Bean, “We’ll take what we can get."

Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.

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