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Heat Wave ‘Like a Pressure Cooker’ Descends on Fresno, Valley

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Triple-digit temperatures will send the mercury soaring in Fresno. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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As heat waves go, the one that’s hitting Fresno this week is kind of boring — unless you don’t have air-conditioning and/or you work outdoors, in which case you should prepare to break a sweat.

Monday’s forecast high is 105 degrees, the start of an eight-day stretch of triple-digit temperatures that’s fairly typical for the region at this time of year, said meteorologist Andy Bollenbacher of the National Weather Service in Hanford.

“It’s nothing record-setting, but it’s pretty hot,” Bollenbacher said.

Last summer, on the other hand, was record-setting, when Fresno had its hottest-ever July, second-hottest June, and third-hottest August.

According to National Weather Service historical records, there were 69 days of triple-digit temperatures last year, the most in over 70 years. There were 23 days when the mercury climbed to 105 or hotter and five days at 110 or hotter.

By this time last year there had been 25 days of triple-digit temperature, compared to 13 so far this year.

Not So Hot

The difference, says Bollenbacher, is the high pressure ridge that’s sitting above the Valley and holding the hot weather “like a pressure cooker.”

Last year’s ridge was much stronger and spread as far as the Pacific Northwest, he said: “The ridge we’re seeing now is not as consolidated as the ridge last year. It’s not as large and strong.”

Hence, it’s hot, but not as infernally hot as last year.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email