Treasure Valley weather outlook: Hot, with a chance of hazy

July 3, 2013 

Boise, Idaho, heat, record, river, paddleboard

With temperatures into the triple-digits, Stand-up ­paddleboarders stuck to the shade along the Boise River on Tuesday afternoon. The Greenbelt was largely empty of recreationalists due to the heat.

JOE JASZEWSKI — jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com Buy Photo

Feeling the heat:

• The high on Friday, June 28, was 101. The record is 102, set in 2010.

• The high on Saturday, June 29, was 103. The record is 105, set in 2010.

• The high on Sunday was 104, a record.

• The high on Monday was 110, a record.

• Tuesday's high: 105. Tied the record set in 1924.

• Wednesday's projected high: 102. The record is 106, set in 2001.

• Thursday's projected high: 97. The record is 106, set in 1934.

• Friday's projected high: 94. The record is 106, set in 1896.

Shifting winds could bring in more wildfire smoke from Oregon

Ozone levels in the Valley shot up Tuesday afternoon, and smoke from wildfires contributed to haze over Downtown Boise.

The air quality is expected to improve Wednesday - but there's also a chance it could get worse.

"There's so many variables, we just don't know," said Michael Toole, regional airshed coordinator for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

Two of those variables: surface and high-level winds. Winds likely will shift, with surface winds coming out of the southwest and high-level winds coming out of the west.

Elevated pollution levels Tuesday led the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to issue an orange air quality alert - a notice to sensitive groups including the elderly and children that they should limit time outdoors. The AQI was 115, a level that triggers burn bans in Ada and Canyon counties, and all the cities within those counties. Report violations to your local fire department.

The smoke was believed to be from the nearby Turner Gulch Fire at Lucky Peak Reservoir, as well as three wildfires burning in eastern Oregon. The largest is a fire near Vale, Ore., which had burned more than 30,000 acres by Tuesday.

This may feel like deja vu for Valley residents. Wildfires burning in the region and beyond last summer forced the Valley to suffer through 55 days of poor air quality.

Scattered reports of illness

Deputy Director Shawn Rayne with the Ada County Paramedics said paramedics have treated 18 people for heatstroke or similar complaints since June 29.

Children and the elderly are the most susceptible to heat-related illnesses, Rayne said. But healthy adults are also at risk; even those who have been keeping up their fluid intake can still be at risk of heat stroke.

At Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, a handful of patients came in with heat-related complaints, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Krajnik.

The hospital's urgent care has had four patients with minor heat injuries since the week began, she said.

"Those range from rashes to sunburns to shortness of breath due to the heat, (but) no heat stroke or exhaustion or anything really serious," she said.

The heat wave has sent eight patients to St. Luke's hospitals as well, spokesman Ken Dey said, all with minor illnesses or dehydration.

Overheated inmates seek relief

With the temperature reaching 100 for the fifth straight day Tuesday, a lone swamp cooler has proved ineffective for the inmates in one wing of the Idaho State Correctional Institution.

Officials at the medium-security prison planned to bring in blocks of ice and a portable swamp cooler to supplement the other one. They will also buy 17 fans to increase the flow of air inside a former warehouse that previously served as the prison's upholstery shop. Prisoners also are getting ice, a practice followed throughout the system when the weather is hot.

The problem is swamp coolers reduce the temperature only 15 to 20 degrees, which is of limited use on days of 100 degrees or higher, said Jeff Ray, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Correction.

Ray did not know what the temperature was inside Unit 24, where the problem occurred.

Idaho power sets new peak

Idaho Power's new record set Monday for peak demand is 3,402 megawatts.

Don't forget your pets

Tips from the Idaho Humane Society include keeping pets indoors where it's cool and providing lots of water and shade if they must be outdoors. Don't leave pets in your car, even if windows are cracked.

If you see a dog locked in a hot car, call IHS humane officers at 343-3166.

Reporters Katy Moeller, Katie Terhune and John Sowell contributed.

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