Bay Area braces for 76-year high temperatures, fire danger in scorching heat wave

A heat wave gripping the Bay Area is expected to continue at least through Sunday July 8, 2024. (Image: National Weather Service)

Bay Area meteorologists are urging residents to stay out of direct sunlight Saturday, with punishing rays prompting warnings of excess temperatures amid one of the region’s stronger heat waves in recent memory.

Saturday was widely expected to be hottest day during the ongoing high-pressure system, and morning temperatures did not disappoint, hitting the low to mid 90s — the highest mark since 1948 — at areas between 2,500 and 5,000 feet above sea level, such as many of the campsites on Mount Tamalpais.

San Jose braced for a dry day forecasted to reach a high of 95, while expected overnight lows of 64 would be just a touch cooler than historic marks set in the city during the early 20th century.

And a day after the Oakland Museum saw record temperatures, conditions were expected to be nearly as hot in the East Bay: Oakland’s expected high of 85 degrees would tie an on-the-date record set in 1985. Areas in Contra Costa County, such as Concord, were projected to see a high of 105.

“The lows overnight have been most uncomfortable on the hilltops and on mountains,” said Rick Canepa, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Bay Area.

“Close to the sea level, we have some cooler air moving inland overnight,” Canepa added, “but, as is typical, it’s overwhelmed during the daylight hours once the sun comes up.”

A heat wave gripping the Bay Area is expected to continue at least through Sunday July 8, 2024. (Image: National Weather Service) 

The scorching weather has heightened fire danger across the region’s inland areas, due to a combination of low humidity and dry fuels in the vegetation that sprung during a rainier winter.

Red flag warnings, issued by the National Weather Service to discourage outdoor fires of any kind — including fireworks — were expected to be in effect until 9 p.m. through much of the Bay, though a forecast of low wind speeds brought relief to meteorologists wary of wildfire risks.

Weather officials also warned residents that outdoor activities under the sun could quickly lead to heat exhaustion or dehydration without proper care.

“Staying out of direct sunlight is absolutely key,” Canepa said. “The radiation from the sun heats the ground up — there’s serious risk of getting sunburn or skin damage. Stay in the shade as much as you can.”

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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