Heat help

For more information and tips for preventing heat-related sickness, visit www.deschutes.org/heat

A heat wave across Oregon this week is expected to bring near record temperatures to the High Desert, with scorching conditions that could reach 100 degrees.

Health officials are urging residents to take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Those most vulnerable to extreme heat include people who work or exercise outdoors, adults over 65, children under 4 and people with chronic medical conditions, according to Deschutes County Health Services.

Morgan Feld, Deschutes County Health Services emergency preparedness coordinator, said the vulnerable populations should try to spend the daytime hours in air-conditioned homes or buildings. Those without air conditioning in their homes should consider visiting public spaces, such as libraries, senior centers, restaurants and retail shops to cool down, Feld said.

It is important for people in homes without air conditioning to keep their windows and blinds shut during the day, Feld said. Windows can be reopened in the evening when temperatures drop, she said.

Feld said the two biggest issues she sees during heat waves are people leaving their pets or children in cars, and people drinking alcohol while outdoors.

Leaving pets and children in cars accelerates heat stroke, and drinking alcohol accelerates dehydration, she said.

As long as people are being careful by drinking more water and staying indoors, they should stay safe through the heat wave, Feld said.

“If you are taking precautions, you really should be just fine,” Feld said.

The high temperatures could also have a major impact on the homeless population. Shelters in the area have an ongoing need for donations of bottled water, but that need becomes especially important on hot summer days.

David Notari, director of development at Shepherd’s House Ministries, said donations drop off in the summer months, including practical items like food and water.

“Bottled water is one of those constant needs for us,” Notari said.

The shelter, located at 1854 NE Division St. in Bend, is air-conditioned and offers shower services. It has room to house up to 50 people per night, and serves meals for up to 90 people during the day.

Homeless individuals are welcome to cool off inside the shelter and wait for a meal, Notari said.

Donations can be dropped off at the shelter or money can be donated online at shepherdshouseministries.org.

The forecast for Central Oregon shows temperatures continuing to rise until Friday, when the thermostat could read 94 degrees in Bend and 99 in Redmond. But temperatures will still be in the low 90s through the weekend, according to Mary Wister, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Pendleton.

“Even though the weekend is going to be slightly cooler, it’s still going to be hot,” Wister said.

The National Weather Service has not issued any heat advisories for the region, but warnings could come for the eastern and southern parts of Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge, where temperatures could reach 100 degrees, Wister said.

Central Oregon will still be hot, but not record breaking.

The hottest day in the forecast this week, Friday, will be in the mid-90s. The record heat for that day came in 2002 when it was 100 degrees in Bend, 102 degrees in Redmond and 106 degrees in Madras, according to the National Weather Service.

“We are not anticipating records in Central Oregon,” Wister said, “but it will be close.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com

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