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Forecast calls for extended stretch of triple digits reaching up to 112 degrees

PMG PHOTO: PAT KRUIS - Last year's heat wave scorched the carrot umbels, blossoms, damaging the pollen. This year the heat wave came later in the season, bees have had a couple of weeks to pollinate the flowers.

The sun turns Jefferson County into a frying pan this week. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures could reach 112 degree in Warm Springs on Thursday, July 28.

The forecast triggered Faith Based Network to open a cooling shelter for people who have no place to protect themselves from the heat.

People without homes can escape the heat at the Juniper Community Church, 976 South Adams, Monday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

FBN may extend hours and longer into the week if temperatures over 100 degrees persist. People with homes but without access to air conditioning may find safety at the shelter as well. "We had someone take advantage of that last year, an elderly mom," said FBN Executive Director Tony Mitchell. "It was a sweet thing. We gave her a chair and another for her feet and put an extra fan on her." The center has capacity for about 30 people. Volunteers will provide lunch, perhaps a snack, and plenty of water. Deschutes Valley Water District Joel Gehrett says the district has plenty of water to supply needs during this heat spell. He noted water use triples during high heat, mostly outdoor use, people watering their landscape.

Farmers roll with the ups and downs of the climate. Last year the extreme hit the last week of June. The heat then scorched the carrot umbel, or blossoms, damaging the pollen. That happened early in the pollination cycle.

"This year the bees have had a good two weeks to pollinate," said carrot farmer Marty Richards.

This week's heat wave may come close to last year's temperatures, but coming later in the season lessens the impact, at least for carrot farmers. Most farmers have pollination concerns. "Heat reduces pollinator activity and July is usually peak pollinator season," said North Unit Irrigation District Executive Manager Mike Britton. "Obviously extreme heat has an effect on any plant that relies on water." The district has only so much water to give, farmers are limited to the water they have left in their accounts. The heat affects the irrigation system in other ways. "High heat causes aquatic vegetation to proliferate, meaning the district has to treat canals more often," said North Unit General Manager Josh Bailey. "Low flows coupled with high heat equals more weeds."

The heat wave prompts all the routine cautions: drink lots of water, make sure your animals have water, venture outdoors only in the cool of the morning and the evening, water vegetation only in the cool of the morning or the evening and check on elderly friends or neighbors.

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