Tuesday will bring relief in San Francisco as temperatures drop amid a potentially dangerous heatwave. However, the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast warns that the worst has not passed for other parts of the Bay Area, which will likely see triple-digit temperatures.
According to NWS, Concord and other parts of Contra Costa County may see highs of up to 103 Tuesday. Fremont may reach 97, San Jose and Napa 98, and areas around Santa Rosa may hit temperatures of 99 degrees during the day.
An excessive heat warning lasting from 10 a.m. Tuesday through 9 p.m. covers but is not limited to the cities of Concord, Antioch, Livermore, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Pittsburg, and San Ramon.
In those areas, residents should expect “record or near record heat with widespread high temperatures from 100 to 105.”
The only good news is that high temperatures in SF will likely break, as the heat warning does not apply to the city. Tuesday’s forecast calls for highs of 85 during the day.
Meteorologists predict a high of 90 in Oakland and 93 in peninsula locales like Redwood City and Palo Alto—not as dire as surrounding regions, but still potentially dangerous.
For most people, the heatwave is merely unpleasant, but high temperatures can pose a significant and even fatal health risk, particularly after several consecutive days.
According to UCLA research published in 2018, “Heat is the primary weather-related cause of death in the United States,” with an estimated median of 1,500 fatalities every year.
“Extreme heat events [account] for more fatalities annually than the 30-year mean annual number of deaths due to hurricanes, lightning, earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods combined,” warns the university.
The Center For Disease Control explains that high temperatures and excessive humidity can conspire to literally overheat human bodies:
Heat-related illness, also called hyperthermia, is a condition resulting from exposure to extreme heat where the body becomes unable to properly cool, resulting in a rapid rise in body temperature. The evaporation of sweat is the normal way to remove body heat, but, when the humidity is high, sweat does not evaporate as quickly.
This, in turn, prevents the body from releasing heat quickly. Prompt treatment of heat-related illnesses with aggressive fluid replacement and cooling of core body temperature is critical to reducing illness and preventing death.
The elderly are the most vulnerable to extreme heat, but anybody may be affected by hyperthermia.
While heat warnings remain in place, Bay Area residents should stay indoors if possible and seek out air-conditioned spaces (like the SF Main Library) when possible. Stay hydrated and avoid heavy labor, particularly outdoors.
NWS advises to check on elderly neighbors and relatives several times per day to make sure that they haven’t fallen victim to heat-related illness.