Visalia cooling center opens in face of blazing temperatures

Massive heat wave re-opens the Visalia cooling center, California Independent System Operator issue a flex alert

VISALIA – This summer’s brutal temperatures aren’t over yet, as another excessive heat wave hit the San Joaquin Valley prompting cooling centers in Visalia to reopen, and the state to issue a “Flex Alert” to conserve energy.

After an excessive heat warning for the San Joaquin Valley from the National Weather Service, with 103 and 108 degree weather, the city of Visalia Transit Center opened as a cooling center for community use. Located at 425 E. Oak Ave, the Transit Center provides amenities like ample seating, vending machines and restrooms. Most bus routes lead to the Transit Center thus providing convenient transportation.

Starting Aug. 16 through Aug. 20, the cooling center’s hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Forecasts will be monitored by the Visalia Fire Department on Aug. 20 to determine if the cooling center will remain open.

Also in response to the massive heat wave, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), a nonprofit system operator that oversees California’s bulk electric power system, issued a “Flex Alert” for Aug. 17. A Flex Alert is a call for consumers to voluntarily conserve electricity in the face of an anticipated energy supply shortage and is typically between 4 to 9 p.m.

While the alert was issued by CAISO, Southern California Edition (SCE), the electrical supply company for most of Southern California, also urges customers to conserve energy in order to reduce demand on the electric grid in face of high temperatures.

To conserve energy during a Flex Alert, SCE recommends setting air-conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, if health permits it, shutting off any unnecessary appliances and covering up windows by adjusting blinds and drapes.

To help conserve energy before a Flex Alert is issued, SCE recommends consumers “pre-cool” their homes by setting their thermostats as low 72 degrees before 4 p.m., keeping mobile devices and laptops charged and running major appliances, like dishwashers and washing machines, before 4 p.m.

To help cope with the high temperatures, the Visalia Fire Department recommends avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun by staying indoors or in a shaded area, wearing light colored, loose-fitting clothes, staying hydrated with plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and periodically keeping tabs on children and elderly.

The fire department also encourages residents to never leave children or pets in a vehicle, as temperatures can quickly climb to life-threatening levels, and to remember that animals are also affected by the high temperatures and to provide them with a plentiful amount of water and access to shade.

For any residents looking for further information, contact the Visalia Fire Department at 559-713-4244.

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