Photo by Cedric Letsch via Unsplash

On June 16, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a heat advisory warning and an excessive heat warning for much of the Bay Area. 

The heat advisory remained in effect until 9 p.m. Friday, June 18. It  impacted the North Bay interior valleys, Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley, including San Jose and Hollister Valley. Temperatures were expected to be between 94 to 99 degrees. 

The NWS predicted that while temperatures would be cooler on June 18 than on previous days, it was still hot.. Additionally, there is an increased risk of heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

As a precaution, the NWS shared this with the public: “Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young

children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.”

The NWS called this the first heatwave of 2021 with heat impacts concentrated mainly inland in a Tweet below:

“Yesterday [June 17] was the hottest day of the entire event. So, right now we’re starting this gradual process for the cooling trend. It’ll take a series of days for the cooling trend to really get going, especially for those inland cities like San Jose,” Gerry Diaz, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in the San Francisco/Monterey/Bay Area, told Scriberr News. 

In a July 2020 study conducted by Glynn Hulley, a climate researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, heatwaves have become more frequent, intense and longer-lasting in Southern California from 1950 to 2020. Additionally, the study showed that heatwave trends have changed significantly in inland urban areas like Los Angeles County. 

Hulley predicts it’s because they are farther away from the coast with urban areas acting as “heat islands” with more heat-absorbing infrastructure and surfaces like buildings and roads. 

The Southern California heatwave in Sept. 2020 allowed Hulley to further conclude that heatwaves here are occurring earlier and persisting later in the year, which could result in a longer heatwave season. 

“We do have one acting wildfire just south of the Bay right now and we’ve also seen a lot of wildfires, even just in the past 24 hours out in the Sierras,” said Diaz. “We’ve already seen a lot of active wildfires out in places like Montana, Utah and Arizona. So really, it’s most of the western U.S. that unfortunately is on track for a very active fire weather season.”

California’s power grid operator asked for a second day of voluntary energy conservation amid the sweltering heat baking the Golden State. A Flex Alert—which was already in place on June 17 from 5 to 10 p.m.—was issued for 6 to 9 p.m. on June 18 as a way of reducing “stress on the power grid due to extreme heat.” 

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an emergency proclamation that cites “extreme heat peril” and suspends certain permitting requirements, thus allowing power plants to increase operation to meet the demands of electricity. 

Diaz cites this heatwave as being “anomalous” in the Bay Area in which there are “stronger heatwaves and more notable heat events during the latter half of the summer.”

Written ByVivian Kwang

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