California a fall furnace as hot temperatures bake Bay Area

California’s annual fall furnace is baking the Bay Area. For Santa Clara city road paving crews, and others who have to work outside, it’s a double dose of heat.

“Your glasses have a tendency of steaming up when you’re on there, the paving mat. And you drink a lot of water and take some more breaks,” said worker Jesse Manuel Siordia.

From the North Bay to the South, sweltering temps are blanketing the region.

“Almost nothing in 2020 is normal, but this is,” said San Jose State University meteorologist Dr. Alison Bridger.

She said alternating high and low pressure systems are sucking warm air west from the Rockies. The result produces high heat here, and an increased fire danger.

“Unfortunately that’s probably what’s going on up in St. Helena,” said Dr. Bridger, of the Glass Fire. “Plenty left to burn. And that’s going to be the case every fall.”

Pacific Gas & Electric officials issued a Public Safety Power Shutoff Sunday evening in the North Bay, affecting 288 Sonoma County residents. Officials said the proactive measure increases customer safety when wind, heat, and fire could bring down transmission lines.

“We’re working to do this in a better way. Smarter, shorter, and smaller is what we say um, to make it less impactful on our customers this year,” said spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian.

She said crews are checking for damage Monday afternoon, with hopes of beginning the service restoration process.

In the South Bay, some cities are opening cooling centers as the mercury flirts with triple digits.

“We just wanted to stay cool because it’s been very, very, hot and we’re getting a little bit older. And I’m starting to feel it a little bit more,” said Jay Noland, an unhoused Santa Clara County resident who stopped into one of the four cooling centers in San Jose.

While hours vary, multiple officials say one thing is constant: COVID restrictions mandate the wearing of masks and the lowering occupancies rates, so that everyone can practice social distancing.

“[It's an] opportunity to get out of the heat. Gives them a cool place to stay,” said Jim Teixeria, director of Santa Clara (city) Parks & Recreation. Added Charlotte Graham, a spokeswoman for the San Jose Dept. of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services, “Our community centers and libraries are pretty much always prepared to step in and help during times of need and emergencies.”

Officials say weather conditions will determine how long cooling centers remain open this week. This, as the region braces for a few more blasts of heat before the start of rainy season, a month from now.