by Joanna Metheny
Just about anyone who’s made it through at least one summer here in the Central Valley has amassed a cache of tools to thrive despite weeks of triple digits. If last week’s heat wave serves any warning, summer is definitely upon us, and now is the perfect time to develop a plan for when the mercury starts soaring again. Here are some ways to stay cool and enjoy the coming months of summer.
General Hot Weather Tips
Many of these become common knowledge for long-term Valley residents, but for those new to the area or looking for a refresher, here are some general ideas for handling sweltering weather.
Make sure to stay hydrated, drinking more liquids than normal. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol.
Run errands, do outdoor chores, and any gardening tasks in the early morning before the day heats up.
If your home has a whole-house fan, make sure to run it for at least a few minutes in the early morning and late evening. These things are workhorses, and quite efficient at pulling cool air into a house, as well as clearing heat from the attic. Using one regularly in the cooler parts of the day, then closing up the windows and blinds can buy several hours of comfortable indoor temps without having to resort to turning on the air conditioner.
Try to run major appliances like the washer and dryer in off-peak hours if possible, in order to avoid stressing the power grid, which could potentially cause local outages.
Watching Out For Others
One of the best things about living in Ripon is the tight-knit and caring community. We can all help foster connection in our town by doing just a few simple things to look out for each other.
Keep an eye on your neighbors, especially the elderly who can be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke such as dizziness, clammy skin, excessive sweating, muscle cramping, and nausea or vomiting.
While most pet owners are responsible enough to know better, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out when out and about for any pets trapped in vehicles. Even with windows cracked, temperatures inside a car can rise rapidly and quickly become fatal to pets.
Go the extra mile: Several folks around town have taken it upon themselves to have a small cooler of ice waters or cold sports drinks on hand to offer to those in need. Also, many of our local mail-carriers and package delivery services don’t have air-conditioned vehicles, and would likely very much appreciate a cold drink on a hot day.
Ripon Area Ways To Stay Cool
Even though we are a small town, we still have abundant resources for keeping cool during the summer.
Head to a cooling center. Most offer a sheltered, air conditioned indoor space, as well as water, and will allow people to stay until they have recovered from the intense heat outside. Last week Ripon’s First Congregational Church on Main St. opened their doors as a cooling station. The Ripon Library is also an excellent option, with drinking fountains, comfortable chairs, and plenty of reading material. For those out and about in the greater area, most senior centers and libraries typically offer similar options.
Grab the kids and head to the Mistlin Park water feature. It’s open Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The Ripon High School Pool is open for public swimming, Monday through Friday, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., until August 4th. Day passes are $3.50 per person, and monthly passes are available.
Try out one of the public skating sessions at the Power Play Sports Arena. For less than $10 a person, including skate rentals, you can enjoy several hours of fun out of the blazing sun. Sessions are offered five days a week.
Head on down to any of our downtown establishments for some refreshment, friendly faces, and ice cold air conditioning. We particularly like Ripon Roadhouse, Burgess Bakery, Isabel’s Vintage Cafe, and Pizza Plus.
One thing we don’t recommend this year is heading down to the river. There have tragically been a number of lives lost due to the water’s icy temperatures and faster than normal currents, and it is suggested that people stay out of and off the river for at least the next few months until water flow speeds return to normal.
About the author: For nearly a decade, Joanna Metheny has been a freelance writer specialized in the coverage of local topics and community interest stories. A Central Valley transplant and Bay Area native, Joanna permanently relocated to Ripon and hasn’t looked back once. She loves the city’s proud agricultural history and small town feel. Joanna enjoys spending her time in the community, tending her garden, and discovering local secrets along Ripon’s backroads.