Heatwave torches San Benito County

Temperatures reached as high as 111 degrees

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A mom and daughter hang out in the shade at Dunne Park in Hollister to help cool down during the hot temperatures that reached past 100 degrees over the weekend. (Juan Reyes)

San Benito County got blasted with a heatwave over the weekend, causing thermometer bars to rise well past the 100 degree mark.

Temperatures on Aug. 16 reached as high as 107 degrees in downtown Hollister and in surrounding areas. The highest temperature recorded in San Benito County was Aug. 16 at 111 degrees at the Pinnacles National Park.

National Weather Service meteorologist Ana Schneider said the temperatures unusually high for this time of the year, noting that Hollister is generally 82 degrees in August.

“It’s definitely well above normal,” she said. 

On Aug. 14, a record high was set in neighboring King City as they reached temperatures as hot as 109 degrees.  

Schneider said there’s been a large, strong high pressure system building over the desert in the southwest region that began late last week. 

“That’s been getting stronger and expanding out toward California,” she said. “It’s brought us this really hot, dry air mass and that’s what’s been causing the heat.”

The heat will linger until Wednesday as temperatures are expected to stay in the upper 90s to 106 degrees. Schneider said it’ll start to cool down as the weekend approaches but the high pressure will still be there, keeping it warm throughout the county. 

San Benito County officials last week issued an “Excessive Heat Warning” stating that accumulating heat stress will have a significant impact for the general public, pets, vegetation and livestock across the region, particularly those sensitive to the heat. 

The county provided instructions on how to stay cool in the heat including drinking plenty of fluids, staying in an air-conditioned room, staying out of the sun and wearing lightweight, loose fitting clothing when possible.

They advise people to check up on relatives and neighbors along with scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. 

The County’s Office of Emergency Services set up a cooling center at the San Benito County Library at 470 Fifth Street. The center will be open noon to 5 p.m. until area temperatures normalize.

Covid-19 symptom screenings will take place for all visitors prior to entering and facial coverings must be worn at all times. Social distancing of at least 6 feet must be maintained at all times unless it’s a family or household who live together.

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