Heat wave, unhealthy air quality hits Bay Area

(KGO)
August 9, 2012 9:53:38 PM PDT
Friday will be another Spare the Air day as hot temperatures are creating unhealthy air conditions. Some Bay Area residents are seeing triple-digit temperatures with some of the hottest temperatures being felt in the East Bay.

Shortly after 11 a.m., the temperature in Pleasanton had already hit 81 degrees which is exactly why the Fighting Falcons of Foothill High School were taking a number of precautions during football practice. "Over the years, we've gotten way better with water and hydrating. And if in the fall, school starts and it stays like this, we will actually practice before school at 6 in the morning," Coach Matt Sweeney told ABC7 News.

The 44 players on the field Thursday were taking water breaks every 15 minutes and did the early afternoon practice in shorts instead of pants but still, the turf runs 10 to 15 degrees hotter than other surfaces. "I think the hardest thing is just the heat with the feet and everything. The turf gets a bit hot at times, but I think if you double sock it and all the little things that we've learned over the years, and everyone's told each other, it's not bad," player Ray Hudson said.

Across town, owners of the Tornado Sport Club Summer Camp were also making sure the kids stayed hydrated. "We make sure that we take breaks and we have the kids, really, we watch the kids drink water," owner Igor Sheyman said. By early afternoon, just about everyone had about all of the heat they wanted for one day. "It's really hot for here of course and we get that not very often, so it's really hard to play soccer in," camp participant Stephen Giverts said.

When temperatures soar, water is everyone's best friend. Some are satisfied with drinking it, others want it on them, and the lucky ones take the plunge. "You should try it. It is just refreshing, even if you are not going to swim, you're just going to play around. It really feels good," Karen Mudrak of Pleasanton said from a pool.

Spare the Air alert

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, or BAAQMD, issues Spare the Air days when air quality is unhealthy, often coinciding with high temperatures and high pollution levels. Thursday is the Bay Area's fifth Spare the Air Day of the summer season. On these days or nights, there's no free transit and there is a wood burning ban in place. Residents are urged to drive less and reduce activities that contribute to smog. Some simple things the public can do to make clean air choices every day include:

  • Bike to work or around town
  • Take public transit
  • Work at home or telecommute
  • Carpool and link your errands to reduce driving
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers
  • Reduce household energy use
  • Don't use lighter fluid on the barbecue

PG&E asks businesses to conserve energy

PG&E is asking businesses to help conserve energy during the triple-digit heat wave hitting many parts of the Bay Area. Businesses enrolled in a program to save money and energy are being asked to switch lights to lower levels, turn off monitors, televisions, copy machines, and any other electrical devices that are not absolutely needed. PG&E says it be would helpful as well if regular customers could also cut back on energy use, especially during the peak hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Statewide "Flex Alert" issued

Because of the statewide heat wave, managers of California's electrical grid have issued a statewide call for everyone to conserve power. The California Independent System Operator's "Flex Alert" will run Friday through Sunday, but they also want residents to start conserving energy right now. Turn off all unnecessary appliances and lights, especially during the peak afternoon hours. The Flex Alert is intended to prevent operating reserves from falling to the point that a Stage 1 Emergency occurs.

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