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Bay Area heat: Records fall, blistering temps ahead |

Bay Area heat: Records fall, blistering temps ahead

Heat records were melting away just as quickly as Bay Area residents’ will for the outdoors Sunday, with high-90 and triple-digit temperatures turning neighborhood streets into desolate asphalt skillets abandoned for the relief of swimming pools, air-conditioning, and whatever shady spots were around.

The good news? The worst of the heat appears to be behind us.

The not-so-good news? The upcoming “better” days aren’t much cooler.

“Whether it’s 102 (degrees), or 104 or 99, it’s not a big difference,” National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Bell said. “It’s just very hot.”

It was so hot Sunday — Pittsburg recorded a Bay Area-high of 111 degrees, and Concord and reached 108 — that the NWS extended a heat advisory for the Bay Area until 9 p.m. Thursday, advising Bay Area residents to avoid heavy activity in the heat and reminding them not to leave kids or pets in their cars.

The heat seemed to keep most people inside Sunday afternoon, though not everyone. In Pittsburg, a lone jogger tore through the otherwise empty streets near the Civic Center Park. Near the marina in that city, a young couple with a baby in a covered stroller briefly appeared.

They soon changed their mind.

“It’s just too hot,” said Alex Diaz, who braved the heat with her husband and son. “We were going to walk a bit, get a bite and maybe sit in the shade. But we’re just gonna go home and put a wet towel on.”

Records for June 18 toppled in all corners of the region. San Francisco saw 88 degrees downtown, up from the 1993 record of 86. San Jose was 103 degrees, sailing past the previous record of 99 in 1945. Oakland saw a high of 97, surpassing the benchmark of 93 set in 1962.

San Francisco International Airport on the peninsula reached 97, nine degrees more than the previous high in 1981. Livermore’s 106 degrees Sunday bested the previous record of 105 set 99 years ago.

Bell said the temperatures may be cooler by a few degrees through Thursday when they could rise again to Sunday’s numbers. But he said Thursday could also be when an on-shore flow of cooler weather should begin to make life considerably more comfortable.

“Right now, it really does look like Friday will bring some cooling,” he said. “Thursday should be the end of the oppressive heat.”

According to PGE, in San Jose the Almaden Community Center on Camden Avenue and the Bascom Community Center on Bascom Drive were being used as cooling centers for residents struggling to beat the heat.

The heat increased as a high-pressure system settled in over the Bay Area, simultaneously redirecting any cooling flow away and trapping the heat and other particles low in the atmosphere — a weather pattern typical for the Bay Area in the summer months, Bell said. The pattern also dirtied the atmosphere enough that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a Spare the Air alert for Sunday, the third of the summer season.

A slight bit of moisture in the air also is trapping the heat, keeping things warm at night, Bell said.

Weather officials advised people to limit activities during the hottest time of day and to drink lots of water. They also advised doing yard work such as mowing lawns early in the morning or late at night to prevent any sparks from causing a blaze. Tow trailers should make sure that chains do not rub up against hot cement because that also can cause a fire, Bell said.

Those fire warnings proved prescient throughout Sunday, with grass fires popping up in locales throughout the region. California Highway Patrol incident logs showed Bay Area freeways dotted with cars that caught fire, presumably due in part to the blazing temperatures.

San Jose fire Capt. Brad Cloutier said crews have been racing from call to call for reports of car fires, grass fires, small electrical fires, and transformers blowing out, on top of all the medical calls for heat-induced maladies.

“It’s our normal day times two or three because of the heat,” Cloutier said.

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