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Haze, heat engulf region
by Garrett Valenzuela
Aug 15, 2012 | 4135 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne
19-month-old Malik cooled in the fountains outside the Sparks Century 14 theaters Tuesday afternoon.
Tribune/John Byrne 19-month-old Malik cooled in the fountains outside the Sparks Century 14 theaters Tuesday afternoon.
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Monday night’s low temperature fell to 70 degrees, the same temperature that was recorded on June 6 as the high for the day.

In the first 13 days of August, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Reno has only recorded one day with a high temperature of less than 97 degrees.

Meteorologist Shane Snyder of the NWS said the Reno-Sparks area is seeing a “typical summer pattern” for our region. The clouds forming in the mountains are at the mercy of the summer winds, which currently are blowing from south to north, he said.

“Some of the moisture will move out of our area if we get a westerly wind, but right now we have a south wind,” Snyder said. “The moisture is being held here because the west wind is a drying wind in the summer, but all the clouds right now are moving south to north.”

Snyder said the recent scorching days can also be attributed to high overhead pressure that is locking in warm air that is only cooled by cloud cover.

Thus far in August, the region has seen five days with a reported high temperature at 100 degrees or more. There were four such days in all of July and one such day in June.

The average temperature rose 9.5 degrees from June to July and August has an average temperature of 98.9 degrees thus far. In August 2011, there was an average of 93 degrees and an average of 88.9 degrees in August 2010.

Ken Meinzer, president of Pinnacle Heating and Air Conditioning said his crews have been feeling and treating the effects of the recent blistering days. Primarily working on rooftops, Meinzer’s employees have been starting their shifts earlier to avoid the intensity of the sun.

“We have been starting crews at 5 and 5:30 in the morning instead of the regular 7:30 start time. Avoiding the midday heat is a pretty big goal for us,” he said.

Pinnacle has been installing new cooling units and fielding various cooling problem calls during the summer months, which have gone up notably in August. Temperatures reaching the mid-90s are torture to cooling units.

“Once you take that step between 95 and 100, it pushes the limit of what the equipment can do and that is when we see those failures,” he said. “There are definitely more calls (in August). We don’t see a lot of failures in June, but once the units run for a few months they are starting to get fatigued.”

Meinzer said his company’s regular maintenance checks often catch small problems that go awry in the blazing heat, causing them to have to make less emergency calls to their customers.

Eric Adamson, a lifeguard at Deer Park Pool in Sparks, said the amount of people attending the pool is not indicative of the severe heat. He said with some schools opening up less and less kids have been attending open swim.

“It was much more congested in June and July. One Friday afternoon we had about 150 people come in,” he said. “The pool is always nice and everyone loves to come cool off, but the past three weeks it has not been as busy.”

Adamson and his fellow lifeguards work in 15- or 30-minute shifts to avoid too much sun exposure and dehydration.

National Weather Service officials said cooler weather may be approaching by the weekend, but not enough to feel a significant difference.

“Temperatures will be in the low- to middle-90s and it could be cooling off, but not dramatically,” he said. “The high pressure stuck over us will give way to some low pressure in the eastern pacific that breaks down the high pressure for cooler air. It will not be super cool, but cooler than it has been.”
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