The past few weeks have been so hot, you can literally bake pastries in your car.
That — and the danger of subjecting a baby or pet to that heat — was the point the Meridian Fire Department made Tuesday afternoon at The Village, where officials set up a booth outlining the dangers of hot cars during the summer months.
Even in fair double-digit weather late Tuesday morning, the inside of the sport utility vehicle set up by the Meridian Fire Department reached 134 degrees, according to the thermometer placed inside.
On the dashboard of the SUV was a tray of sugar cookies that had been sitting for less than 30 minutes, already on the verge of rising and becoming crisp.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
July 2017 was officially the second-warmest month ever recorded in Boise, according to the National Weather Service in Boise. The daily mean temperature last month was 81.6 degrees, trailing July 2007’s record of 83.1 degrees. Data collection began in 1877.
Temperatures hit 100 degrees Monday and triple digits are forecast Tuesday through Thursday, the first few days of August.
As of Monday, the daily high temperature in Boise has been 90 degrees or higher for 32 straight days, the fourth-longest string of hot days on record. The record for consecutive days with daily high temperatures above 90 degrees is 50, which was set in 1875. The Valley would have to log nine more days above 90 degrees to rise to third place.
“We’ve had a strong series of high-pressure (fronts),” NWS meteorologist Katy Branham said Tuesday. “The long-term models said it was going to be above average.”
The mean high temperature during July was a sizzling 97.3 degrees, up more than six degrees from the average for that month over the years. The temperature was 100 degrees or higher four straight days from July 6-9; the record for consecutive 100-degree-or-more days in any month in Boise is nine, according to the National Weather Service.
Relief may be on the way — if you can wait until next week, when Branham said temperatures are expected to be in the mid-to-upper 90s. Given that July had 10 days that registered 100 degrees or warmer and the last three days of the month averaged 100.3 degrees, that’s potentially a step in the right direction.
“Compared to now, it might be slightly cooler,” Branham said.
Staying cool this time of year can be a challenge, but there are options.
The Boise River opened last week, giving locals a chance to float in an attempt to beat the heat. Fishing at a local lake is a way to cool down as well, as the water brings temperatures down naturally. Most importantly, stay hydrated.
Locals should also stay vigilant during the warm weather. Dog owners should remember to monitor their four-legged friends and check for signs of excessive panting to prevent heat stroke.
The National Weeather Service offers a variety of heat safety tips and resources online.
As far as hot cars are concerned, children and older adults are the groups at highest risk, according to Pam Orr, the division manager of education for Meridian Fire Department.
As of July 28, 28 children across the nation had died due to heat stroke inside hot vehicles this year, according to data from the Kids and Cars program, and at least two more deaths had been reported by the end of the month.
“Children’s little bodies heat up a lot quicker than what ours do,” Orr said. “You may be fine, but your baby may not.”