Lezlie Sterling / lsterling@sacbee.com

Gerardo Guerrero Romero harvests Muscat grapes at Heringer Estates vineyards and winery in Clarksburg, where owner Steve Heringer said hot days have boosted sugar levels in the grapes. "The heat has been very positive for us," he said.

Sacramento on verge of record for 90 degrees-plus days in September

Published: Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012 - 10:22 am

If September seems sweltering, it's not your imagination.

Sacramento is on track to set a record for the most September days that reach 90 degrees or hotter. Through Wednesday, the month had seen 22 days in the 90s and only four in the 80s.

The National Weather Service predicts no break in the trend. If that proves true, the month will notch a new record in capital city weather data stretching back to 1877.

"That is something we're taking care to look at," said Drew Peterson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Sacramento. "It looks like it's going to happen."

The current September record, set in 1974, is 24 days at or more than 90 degrees.

The current forecast calls for 90-degree temperatures all week, peaking at 98 degrees forecast on Sunday, the last day of the month.

If that forecast proves true, Sacramento will end the month with 26 days at or above 90 degrees.

We've already beaten the September average since 1971, which is 15 days above 90 degrees.

To those eager for cooler fall temperatures, the stubborn heat has been taxing. Gardens have had nary a breather from hot weather in months.

Wednesday's high in Sacramento was 92 degrees, according to the weather service. Today is predicted to reach 95.

For some, the relentless heat is something to celebrate.

At Heringer Estates winery in Clarksburg, the steady heat helps bring up sugar levels in the grapes for more flavor, owner Steve Heringer said.

It also means no threat of inclement weather that may damage sensitive varieties, such as petit sirah, before the grapes can be harvested.

The last two years brought cold and rain anomalies that created problems, he said, so this year is a relief.

"The heat has been very positive for us," Heringer said. "We're just really excited about the crop this year. The quality just looks awesome."

Peterson said there are no unusual weather events to explain the persistent warmth.

Rather, he said, it is more likely the absence of any events that could be to blame.

"Really, what's been happening is nothing has really been happening," he said. "It's not as if we've had much extreme heat."

Sacramento has seen zero days over 100 degrees this month, compared to the average of three.

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