A Major Heat Wave Will Bake California This Week


This Fourth of July holiday week is going to be a scorcher.

A heat wave arriving across much of California today is expected to create dangerous fire conditions and push inland parts of the state up to triple-digit temperatures, with little respite until the weekend at the earliest.

The forecast shows Fresno, Sacramento, Bakersfield, Modesto, Lancaster and other cities topping 110 degrees over the next several days. Death Valley could reach 125.

“This level of heat could pose a danger to the entire population if proper heat safety is not followed,” the National Weather Service warned yesterday.

There’s a small chance that the heat wave could continue all the way to July 15. Forecasters expect overnight temperatures to stay warm, too, meaning there will be little nighttime relief for people without air-conditioning.

My colleague Judson Jones reports that some places in California could break records this week for consecutive days with extremely high temperatures. Redding, for example, may tie or break its longest stretch of 110-degree heat, six days.

Weather officials recommend staying out of direct sunlight, drinking lots of water and seeking out air-conditioned places if you can. And they ask that you check on your friends, family and neighbors. That’s especially important if you’re in the San Joaquin or Sacramento Valleys, the regions where record-breaking heat is most likely.

What about Fourth of July barbecues and outdoor get-togethers? Try to stay in the shade (or at least take breaks there), wear light-colored and lightweight clothing, and keep hydrated, said Dakari Anderson, a meteorologist at the Weather Service office in Sacramento.

Along the coast, it’ll be a warm week, but not an exceptionally warm one. That’s especially true in the southern half of the state: Temperatures in downtown Los Angeles and Anaheim will peak at about 90 degrees, and in San Diego and Long Beach in the low 80s.

Conditions will be more abnormally hot in the Bay Area. Typically chilly San Francisco is forecast to reach 86 degrees this week, Oakland may heat up to 91 and San Jose may hit 101.

Though high temperatures in most places will persist later into the week, fire danger will be highest today and tomorrow because of especially low humidity and the potential for gusty winds. The Weather Service issued red flag warnings for large swaths of California, including the Sacramento Valley and the mountain ranges in the Bay Area, that last through late today or midday tomorrow.

Because of the dry conditions, the state announced yesterday that it had positioned firefighters and equipment in seven high-risk counties in case new blazes erupted. And Pacific Gas & Electric warned that it would probably shut off power temporarily in parts of 10 counties over the next few days to reduce the risk of a wind-damaged transmission line sparking a wildfire.

You can search on PG&E’s website to see if your home or business is in an area where a power cut is planned. The shut-offs would be the utility’s first planned outages of the year.

For more:

  • Search for your city’s weeklong forecast on the Weather Service’s site.

  • The air quality in the Bay Area is expected to be poor today. Officials recommend not driving if you can avoid it, and limiting outdoor activities.

Last November, Jack Johnson, a native Californian, embarked on a trans-Atlantic sailboat race in a boat he built himself. It was not something he had envisioned for himself, as 10 years before, he thought his path was set, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Things began to change when he married, and four stepdaughters and a cat entered his life. He and his wife, Deby, encouraged each other to try new and difficult things, and so when Mr. Johnson and his friend Michael Moyer entered the competition, Deby was excited for what was to come, making Jack promise he’d finish the race.

Mr. Johnson assembled the boat at night while continuing work at his day job, and in October 2023, he, his wife and Mr. Moyer flew to Portugal. The competitors set off on Nov. 11, and, after more than four weeks at sea battling storms, exhaustion and loneliness, Mr. Johnson arrived in Antigua.

He was greeted with the news that he had finished first, and, calling his wife, the celebration began.

With her support, Mr. Johnson says he’s ready to try something new, and perhaps less adventurous: a dance class.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Halina Bennet, Briana Scalia and Luke Caramanico contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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