How hot can the ground get on a scorching day?
The heat wave that has the Sacramento Valley clenched in a sweaty grip broke a record Monday: Temperatures hit at least 90 degrees in downtown Sacramento every single day in July.
That’s never happened before in records dating back to 1877 for downtown Sacramento, according to the National Weather Service.
And it’s only going to get worse this week – especially the farther north you get up in the Sacramento Valley.
Tuesday is expected to bring high temperatures of 106 to Sacramento. The worst will come in Redding, which could see the mercury spike at 116 or more Tuesday afternoon.
If it gets that hot, it will break local heat records for that date, said the weather service’s Michelle Mead.
She urged everyone, but especially workers who labor in the outdoors, to find an excuse to say inside.
“If at all possible, if you cannot be out in that heat, if there’s other work you can do ... get somewhere with air conditioning,” Mead said.
Redding’s Deputy City Manager Greg Clark said city officials already made one concession to the heat. Redding’s National Night Out event set for Tuesday evening outside City Hall is expected to be moved inside the building. The event is designed for neighbors to meet each other and city leaders.
“People can talk to their council members inside,” Clark said.
With another month to go, and a significant blast of hot weather coming this week, 2017 could challenge 2016 for the dubious distinction of the hottest summer ever recorded in California.
“It’s definitely going to be right up there,” said Michael Anderson, the state climatologist.
The National Centers for Environmental Information, a federal agency, said the statewide average temperature of 75.5 degrees last summer was the highest ever, and beat the average by 3.3 degrees. The statewide high temperature last summer was 90.6 degrees, or 3.4 degrees above average.
While Sacramento broke a record for 90-degree days in July, the city has actually seen fewer 100-degree days for the summer than it saw by this time in 2016.
So far this year, Sacramento has seen 20 days of 100-degree temperatures, said Idamis Del Valle, a meteorologist with the weather service. Last year the city had 22 days of 100-degree weather by the end of July, she said.
The record for 100-degree days in Sacramento by July 31 was 27 days in 1988, Del Valle said.
The average high temperature in Sacramento in July was 98.4 – five degrees above normal. The average low of 64.1 was 4 degrees above normal.
As for all those consecutive 90-degree days downtown, Mead said the temperature sensor in the central city is subjected to “an urban heat-island effect,” so the weather service prefers to use the readings from the Sacramento Executive Airport. The high temperature during July at the airport remained below 90 at least twice, she said.