Freddie Jackson of San Francisco protects himself from the sun as he prepares to float the Rogue River. Bob Pennell / Mail Tribune photo - Bob Pennell

Some like it hot

Forecasters say this week's temperatures could be the hottest in six years, but the recipe for staying cool is the same as it is every year around this time — plenty of water to drink, light clothing, sunscreen for bare skin and a cool place to spend the hottest hours of the day.

Monday's 105 degrees made it the hottest day so far this summer, and "the heat will continue into early next week," said Mike Petrucelli, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Medford.

"We're going to gradually get cooler," he said, "but remain in the mid-90s."

Forecasters were predicting a high of 105-106 degrees today, 103 on Wednesday, 100 on Thursday, 97 on Friday, 96 on Saturday and 93 by Sunday.

So far this year, there have been six days of 100 degree heat, as measured at the weather service office at the Medford airport.

"This time last year we were in the 80s, got up to 95 and then back down," Petrucelli said.

Late-July temperatures have not been this hot since 2003, when temperatures reached 105 on July 28, 108 on July 29 and 107 on July 30.

"Basically the high pressure aloft has been sitting over us getting hotter and hotter," said Marc Spilde, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Medford.

Simple precautions can help minimize the misery, Petrucelli said.

"The main thing is to not be in direct sunlight for extended periods of time," he said. He also recommended exercising in the morning and drinking plenty of water.

"You may not feel thirsty," he said. "You may not sweat much, but moisture is still evaporating and leaving your body."

The heat sent several people to local hospitals over the past few days. Providence Medford Medical Center treated four heat-related cases, and Rogue Valley Medical Center had two.

The extreme heat brought hundreds of people to the Rogue River in search of relief.

"Have you felt that water?" said Christine Hobbs, 26, a teacher from the Los Angeles area, as she pointed to the Rogue River. "This is the best time to go."

Hobbs and a group of family members all braved Monday's heat to raft down the Rogue River for the eighth time this year.

"It's a little bit adventurous, cools you down and you get a tan," said her friend, Amy Owens, 27.

Raft Rite Rentals in Shady Cove set a record Saturday when it rented 65 rafts, "even with the fair going on," said Andrew Paullin, one of the Raft Rite crew.

"We're already probably sold out next weekend," he said.

Paullin recommended boaters call to reserve a raft or Tahiti in advance.

Medford's Jackson Pool has been filling up as the temperature soars.

"This summer we pretty consistently, with the exception of fair week, have been at capacity (200 people) from 1 to 3 p.m. at Jackson," said Sue McKenna, Medford Parks and Recreation aquatics supervisor. "And numbers were up 50 or 60 (people) from fair week last year at Hawthorne (pool)."

McKenna said she expects even more swimmers as the days get hotter. Jackson Pool is open to the public from 1 to 3 p.m., 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hawthorne Pool is open 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is $1 for kids; $2 for adults.

Reach intern Teresa Thomas at 776-4464.

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