Public safety officials are urging residents to take precautions as one of the hottest times of the summer in the El Paso-Juárez region has arrived.
The National Weather Service for El Paso has forecast temperatures topping 100 degrees Wednesday through at least Monday before dipping to the mid-90s next week.
"This will be our first significant stretch (of 100-degree days) that we usually experience in June and early July," said John Fausett, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Santa Teresa.
The high temperature reached 102 degrees Wednesday, National Weather Service staff said. It is forecast to climb to 103 or 104 Thursday and Friday, peaking at 105 Saturday before falling to 103 Sunday and 102 Monday.
Ryenne Calderon, 11, cools off in the splash pad at The Fountains at Farah Wednesday as the temperature reached 102 degrees.
(Photo: MARK LAMBIE/EL PASO TIMES)
"People need to drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned areas," Fausett said.
"Heat is the silent killer," Fausett said. "It kills more than any other weather phenomenon during an average year. If you average it out over 30 years, it’s heat. You don’t hear about it because it kills one or two people at a time."
Authorities in the El Paso-Juárez-Las Cruces region advised residents to drink plenty of water even if not thirsty, avoid being outdoors during the hottest time of the day, never leave pets or people in parked vehicles and check on family, friends and neighbors who might not have air conditioning.
The Chihuahua civil protection office has urged people to take precautions during the heat wave.
The El Paso Extreme Weather Task Force reported that there were four heat-related deaths in El Paso County last summer.
The task force collects and distributes fans to qualifying seniors and needy families. New fan donations can be dropped off at any fire station. Residents who need a fan may call 211.
The El Paso Department of Public Health reminds residents that they can avoid the heat by visiting an air-conditioned mall, library or movie theater.
Victoria Dominguez twirls in the water spouts at The Fountains at Farah as the temperature reached 102 degrees Wednesday.
(Photo: MARK LAMBIE/EL PASO TIMES)
Officials said that people should beware of heat exhaustion, which usually occurs when people lose fluids by heavy sweating while working or exercising in hot environment, and heat stroke, which can be life threatening when a high body temperature threatens the brain.
The weather task force said those most at risk for heat stroke are elderly people without adequate cooling, babies sleeping in hot rooms, unattended children, people outdoors for long periods of time such as the homeless and hikers, and people under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Daniel Borunda may be reached at 546-6102; email@example.com; @BorundaDaniel on Twitter.
Heat exhaustion signs
• Feeling faint or dizzy.
• Excessive sweating
• Nausea or vomiting
• Cool, pale, clammy skin
• Muscle cramps.
• Rapid, weak pulse
What do to:
• Get to a cool, air-conditioned place.
• Drink water.
• Take cool shower, use cold compresses.
Heat stroke signs
• Throbbing headache
• No sweating. Red, hot skin.
• Body temperature over 103 degrees.
• May lose consciousness.
• Rapid, strong pulse.
What to do:
• Call 911
• Take immediate action to cool person until help arrives.
Source: El Paso Public Health Department
Ryenne Calderon, 11, splashes her younger brother Robby Calderon, 4, as they cool off Wednesday at the splash pad at The Fountains at Farah. Temperatures for the rest of the week are expected to be over 100 degrees.