The Heat Is Coming to California

Op-Ed: California makes it too hard for schools to shield kids from extreme heat

Editor’s note: The above article initially appeared on the blog The Thinking Atheist, and has been republished here with the permission of The Thinking Atheist.

(CNN) — When the heat is at a full burn, and the air around you is at an uncomfortable 90 degrees, and the sky is the color of a dusty blue, it can feel as if it will take a lifetime to melt away.

But one day it might not. We’ll find out whether that’s true on July 30, when the mercury in the Bay Area hits 115 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The record temperature was set in 1913 at a San Francisco ballpark, according to the National Park Service.

The heat has already made its mark in some places around the world. In California’s Central Valley, growers have had to dump millions of pounds of water into fields to cool them — and it’s also caused other problems in farm fields.

But it’s also affecting the Bay Area’s schools, with some schools having to delay bus routes and cancel field trips to avoid heat.

As we’ve seen in the current heat wave in Europe, heat waves can have wide-ranging impacts, but as the heat spikes, we might start to see some of the same symptoms here, from schools canceling field trips to parents making sure their kids are well-prepared, the same way they did when it was hot in the South or cold in the Northeast.

“I don’t want my child to be the first one who dies” of heatstroke, said one mother of two.

California is not alone

It’s hot in California, too, and the state’s heat-related deaths have trended upward as temperatures have steadily climbed, according to the California Department of Public Health.

In 2013, the state had its highest number of heat-related deaths in nearly a century — in June: 22

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