While it seems as if summer skipped the Bay Area this year, on Monday Oakland got a taste of August heat. Temperatures climbed as high as 80 degrees from Bake Sale Betty’s to the Grand Lake Theater, and the warmth lingered into the evening. But don’t worry—a local weather expert says this mini heat wave is nothing to get hot and bothered about.
According to San Francisco State meteorology professor Jan Null, an area of high pressure over Nevada is causing warm dry winds to blow in our direction, negating the cool sea breeze that acts as the Bay Area’s air conditioner.
“We get these offshore events from time to time where the winds blow from the land to the sea,” said Null. “That happens on a rather regular basis. This is when we should expect it.”
While Monday’s high temperatures were outside the norm, the weather was not necessarily a consequence of global warming, according to Null. He says the global trend of rising temperatures is more applicable to decades-long weather patterns than to short heat waves like this. “That’s what global warming is about—long-term trends, not individual events,” said Null.
Monday’s warm weather brought Oakland residents out of doors. Near Lake Merritt, packs of joggers broke into a sweat as they wound around the lake wearing short-sleeves and shorts. Friends chatted as they strolled along the waterfront and couples cuddled on the grass. Adam Farhi, manager of Lake Chalet, a waterfront restaurant and bar on the southwest shore of the lake, said the hot weather is good for business.
“I’ve seen an increase of 15 to 20 percent over our regular count,” said Farhi. “On nice days we get a lot of foot traffic.”
The Bay Area’s regular weather pattern appears to have been disrupted for months this year. Summer was slow in arriving, and in some areas, seemed to never arrive at all. Cold fog kept temperatures down until a few weeks of temperatures in the 90’s. This week, meteorologists forecast another warm day Tuesday, with a high of 70 degrees, and then a cooling trend for Wednesday and Thursday with a 30 percent chance of rain on Friday.
At Lake Merritt, Oakland musician Aziz Ramadan spent the warm twilight hours practicing his trumpet on a park bench. Near the Lake Merritt BART station residents sat on the stoops of apartment buildings as temperatures hovered near 70 at sunset.
For Steve Del Vigno, who is homeless and says he has been sleeping on the streets for three years, weather can be a matter of health. He says he caught pneumonia in January 2007 and is enjoying this year’s November heat.
“It’s hard on people if they sleep outside,” Del Vigno said while lying under a tree facing the lake. “It would be helpful for me if it stays warm.”
Though the majority of Oakland residents seemed to be enjoying the weather, others were ready for autumn to begin. “To be honest, I’m more of a fall person,” said Ernest Jenkins, a Lake Chalet regular, while enjoying a few drinks on the restaurant’s outdoor patio. “I prefer to be wearing my topcoat and scarf.”
“I’m ready, I want a cool Thanksgiving,” said George Mayorga, who lives in Oakland and works at a winery in Napa. Mayorga said year-round heat was not for him. Otherwise, he said, “I’d move to L.A.”