The hottest temperatures so far this year are expected to hit Ashland this weekend — possibly breaking records and offering little relief until Wednesday.
Forecasts call for a high of 94 degrees today, 99 on Saturday and a record-breaking 103 on Sunday. The record for that day, July 26, is 102 degrees and was set in 2004.
Temperatures on other days through Wednesday are not forecasted to break records — but they could, said Kelly Sugden, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Medford office.
"If it turns out to be as hot as it looks right now, we definitely will be flirting with records," he said.
Ashland heat records for late July are typically between about 101 and 105 degrees, Sugden said.
Temperatures in the city have yet to reach triple digits this summer. So far temperatures have peaked at 98 degrees three times in July, according to the National Weather Service. The average high in July is 88 degrees.
Temperatures should decline gradually after Sunday, peaking at 102 degrees on Monday and 100 on Tuesday, according to forecasts.
A ridge of high pressure over Southern Oregon is causing the heat wave, Sugden said. Meteorologists expect it to start to weaken on Wednesday, bringing slightly cooler weather.
The extreme heat can be dangerous and the National Weather Service's Medford Office is warning residents to take precautions.
People should especially beware of heat exhaustion, because symptoms can occur suddenly, and the condition can be life threatening, officials said. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, heavy sweating, and moist, cool and pale skin.
To reduce heat-related stress, people should stay inside during the hottest part of the day — typically between 2 and 6 p.m. — and drink a lot of water, Sugden said. Alcohol is a diuretic and should be avoided, he said.
"Make sure to check on the elderly, kids and pets," who are often more susceptible to heat exhaustion, he said.
Temperatures reached 93 degrees in Ashland on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service, and by 1 p.m. locals were already flocking to Garfield Park's water playground to try to cool off.
"It's getting pretty hot and I see a lot of people out," said Jonathan Rubalcaba, 11, who was sitting on a bench in the shade. "But I like it better than cold."
Many Ashland residents said they had mixed feelings about the hot weather. Katie Beneke, who — sunscreen in hand — brought her 2-year-old daughter Viola to the splash park, tried to put a positive spin on the heat.
"I love how it cools off in the evenings," she said.
Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.