Bakersfield will be hitting triple digits starting Saturday. Sunday and Monday may even break records for the hottest high for those dates with highs of 106 degrees on Sunday and 107 degrees on Monday.
But what does this mean for residents of Kern County? So what. We're used to the heat. But this heat affects snow which affects the Kern River. In the past couple years, our water has been majorly affected by the drought. The Kern River averaged around 500 CFS during drought years. This summer, officials say they could see those levels reaching 10,000 to 12,000 CFS, so the river could be almost 25 times as high as it was during the drought. This is because of the record snow levels we saw. With more snow, there's more snow melt funneling into the Kern.
That snow melt is a huge reason the river is so dangerous this summer. Not only are levels higher, causing the river to move more rapidly. But the water is cold. The water we see in the upper Kern was snow just a couple hours prior. The river is so cold that you can get hypothermia in just 15 minutes of being in the river.
This weekend, these cold, fast moving waters are even more relevant. With the triple digits most of California will see this weekend, the snow will melt faster, further increasing the levels and cool temperatures in the river.
Another key player in this upcoming weekend is the heat advisory in place. Most cities in the valley and desert communities have a heat advisory in place from Friday, June 16 at 1 P.M. to Monday, June 19 at 11 P.M. Officials advise that even though it's hot and getting in the river sounds refreshing, that's the last thing people should be doing. However, people do still need to stay cool.
Here are some helpful reminders for the extreme heat:
- Avoid being outside from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. because that's the hottest period of the day
- Take advantage of FREE cooling centers and spray parks
- Do not leave pets in the car
- Drink double the water you normally would