The San Lorenzo Valley is no stranger to extreme heat, but during Labor Day weekend the temperature reached numbers that can not be ignored. An extreme heat wave arrived to the Bay Area Thursday afternoon and persisted in its scorching temperatures until late Monday evening. The height of the temperature this weekend was a blistering 115 degrees. This 115 degree temperature broke a record in Livermore, California that has stood for 67 years. Records were also broken in the cities of San Francisco and Santa Rosa. San Jose came close to surpassing their record, but missed it by two degrees. All of these chart topping records made the normally cooler Bay Area reach Death Valley, California temperatures. The San Lorenzo Valley is more used to these severe temperatures than cities like San Francisco. In San Francisco and San Mateo County, the heat wave got deadly and caused three deaths in each city, meaning the heat wave death count is six total. All of the people who passed away because of the heat were elders living in the center of the cities. These deaths were all caused by heat stroke and other heat related symptoms. To avoid further incidents of this nature, many cities set up cooling centers for their citizens. These centers were buildings with air conditioning and lots of water. Staying hydrated is the most important and life saving thing to do in a heat wave, so lots of cities made this their main focus with cooling centers.
Biology teacher Mrs. Bauman commented on how this heat wave relates to global warming with “There is a global warming trend that is currently happening. It is escalated by human impact and different places around the world experience impact differently, so for us it’s a heat wave, for Houston and India it’s storms, floods, and hurricanes.” Heat waves are nothing new to the San Lorenzo Valley and even the whole Bay Area, but global warming is escalating them to be worse than this community has ever seen before. It is important to adjust to this new information in order to keep everyone safe from heat related injuries and even death. While what is happening in California is not nearly as severe as the weather phenomenons happening in Texas, Florida, Cuba, and India, they are all connected to global warming. Mrs. Bauman added in her advice on staying cool which is to “Buy popsicles and spend time at the beach- with sunscreen!”
Like most of the people experiencing these temperatures, sophomore Elena Martinez was very inconvenienced by the heat. “I had to figure out how to take my dog outside because it was so hot he would not leave my house and kept doing his business in my living room.” Along with dealing with her overheated dog, Elena also had some health problems of her own caused by the heat wave. The scorching temperatures lead Elena to have migraines and even pass out. “On Monday I passed out because of the heat. I was in the car going to a doctor’s appointment and as soon as I got out of the car I fainted because it was so hot.” Heat induced symptoms like this are not uncommon, but they are still serious. It is extremely important to stay hydrated, participate in minimal exercise, and to try to stay in a cool environment, usually indoors, during a heat wave like this one.
Any student who has had Mr. Lahey knows that he is not a big fan of the heat and this weekend was no exception. “I don’t like the heat, it makes me feel sick, aggravated, and sleepy.” When asked for his thoughts about the school not having air conditioning for times like this, Mr. Lahey stated; “I think it’s really lame. I don’t understand that if we’re an educational institute then we should recognize that climate change is telling us we will have hotter days and more of them. We are science based and data driven, we need to recognize this in order to keep our students cool.” Mr. Lahey then proceeded to add to this answer with “My students are definitely less focused in the heat.” Air conditioned classrooms would definitely solve this problem, but for now, numerous fans in classrooms are a big help for keeping students cool enough to be able to focus and give the class their 100 percent. In relation to climate change, Mr. Lahey went on to say, “I think heat waves are normal, but climate change is telling us that heat waves will be more frequent and intense.” As a community, the San Lorenzo Valley must absorb and adapt to this information because as Mr. Lahey pointed out, the heat waves are only going to be hotter and even more common than ever due to global warming. Mr. Lahey added to his point with a statement about global warming. “When I was teaching here in the 90’s I can’t remember days above 100 degrees.” Like many, Mr. Lahey knows the severity and realness of global warming first hand. It is important to pay attention to the patterns of global warming in order to keep the whole Bay Area safe from the relentless weather.
The Bay Area heat wave during Labor Day Weekend was not the most remarkable heat wave to ever happen in California, but it was definitely one for the books. This extreme weather event caused many temperature records to be broken along with causing numerous deaths. The Bay Area is known to be a cooler part of California, but Labor Day Weekend showed that weather like this can turn the Bay Area into Death Valley. The San Lorenzo Valley has always had extreme heat, but global warming is providing more deadly heat waves than ever. The Santa Cruz Mountains must take in this valuable information because this heat wave will certainly not be our last.
By Kaylo Zubey
Image by LA Times