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Why Is It So Hot? Explaining The Ongoing California Heat Wave
Health & Fitness

Why Is It So Hot? Explaining The Ongoing California Heat Wave

What's going on with the heat wave and how can Californians stay cool through it all? Our handy guide has everything you need to know. Team


2 min read

July 11, 2023

As Californians continue to bask under the blistering sun, many are left asking, "Why is it so hot?" 

Underpinning the searing heat we're experiencing in California is a complex web of meteorological, climatological, and human-induced factors. Globally, we're witnessing one of the hottest periods in recorded history, largely attributable to escalating levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This heat wave is caused by, what is commonly known as, a heat dome - a large area of high pressure containing warm air in its upper levels - which is exacerbating the situation over the western United States, resulting in unusually high temperatures.

Remember to drink water throughout the day to avoid any heat and dehydration related issues.

In California, a state with a largely arid climate, such heat domes contribute significantly to prolonged periods of exceptional heat. However, it's not just about global patterns; regional features like drought conditions, which are currently gripping much of California, can amplify heat waves, making them even more intense and long-lasting. In a state that's already susceptible to wildfires, these heat waves pose a great threat to both human life and the environment. This makes it more important than ever to follow guidelines for fire prevention.

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So, how can residents stay safe during this ongoing heatwave? Hydration is key. The human body loses water rapidly in high heat, and it’s essential to replace it. Keep a water bottle handy at all times and consume electrolyte-rich drinks if you're engaging in physical activity. Limit your outdoor activities, especially during peak heat hours, and wear loose, light-colored clothing that reflects heat.

Remember, the elderly, young children, and pets are most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, so keep an eye on them and provide necessary care. Most importantly, never leave them in a parked car, as temperatures inside can rise rapidly, posing lethal risks. On that topic, remember that when your out the car can become hot, so be cautious when entering a car that has been outside for a prolonged period of time. Materials in the car can be hot to the touch and it may be smart to let the car air out before hopping on.

Indoor activities are a great way to get out of the house and still stay cool during these super hot days.

As the heatwave persists, Californians may need to reconsider their usual summertime outdoor activities. This is a great chance to dive into indoor activities to stay cool and safe. Consider visiting air-conditioned public spaces such as museums, art galleries, and shopping centers. At home, keep the blinds closed during the day to prevent the sun's rays from heating the rooms, and utilize fans and air conditioners to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Even as the heat wave subsides, California is still prone to being hot during the summer and spring. Take these tips to heart and apply them to any hot day, and you’ll be able to comfortably and safely navigate the heat.

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