A sweltering heat wave gripping almost the entire state of California is expected to ramp up on Sunday ahead of blisteringly-hot temperatures this week that could strain the state’s power grid, exacerbate fire conditions across Northern California and choke the Bay Area in unhealthy air.
California officials issued energy conservation and air quality alerts on Sunday morning as a punishing heat wave continued to bear down on the Bay Area and much of the rest of the state. The crescendoing temperatures are expected to hit their peak Monday and Tuesday, when much of the South Bay and inland portions of the Bay Area easily top 100 degrees as part of Northern California’s longest and most intense heat wave so far this year.
“It’s like a marathon, not a sprint,” said Sarah McCorkle, a National Weather Service meteorologist, while advising residents to take precautions and stay out of the heat. “For the year, this is probably the most significant heat event we’ve had so far.”
The National Weather Service extended an excessive heat warning through Wednesday for much of the Bay Area, including San Jose, the East Bay Hills and Contra Costa County. A heat advisory is in effect from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for areas closer to the coast, including the San Francisco Bay shoreline and the Marin coastal range.
The California Independent System Operator issued another Flex Alert for 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday, which asks residents to minimize their energy usage to keep the state’s power grids from overloading. The alert comes as the brunt of a sweltering heat wave settles into Northern California – pushing temperatures 10 to 25 degrees above normal for much of the area and heightening the risk of heat stroke.
The utilities regulator expects Sunday’s energy consumption to peak around 5:30 p.m., with Californians using nearly 45,700 megawatts of power during that time. It’s only about 3,000 megawatts below the state’s current capacity.
Spare the Air Alerts also were issued for the Bay Area for Sunday and Monday, meaning that residents can expect unhealthy air conditions both days due to dangerously high ozone and pollution levels. The air quality is forecast to be the worst across Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
A trough — or an area of low pressure — moved through the region on Saturday, delaying the main event of a heat wave that previously had been expected to peak Sunday and Monday. As a result, the hottest weather isn’t expected to hit until the end of the Labor Day weekend.
When it does, several cities across the Bay Area could be downright scorching.
Livermore and Concord could see temperatures reach the high 90s on Sunday before hitting or exceeding 110 degrees on Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures across San Jose are expected to range from the high 80s to mid-90s on Sunday before spiking to 102 on Monday.
Oakland is forecast to be in the low-to-mid 80s on Sunday before jumping to the low 90s the next couple of days. San Francisco should be in the mid-to-high 70 degrees on Sunday before temperatures increase into the low-to-mid 80s on Monday and Tuesday.
In a foreboding sign, meteorologists with the National Weather Service said upper-level air temperatures above Oakland broke a record for Sept. 4, hitting 84 degrees at an elevation of 5,000 feet. It’s about 1.5 degrees hotter than the previous record for this date.
— NWS Bay Area 🌉 (@NWSBayArea) September 4, 2022