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The heat was so high in Berkeley on Friday that there were few places to hide.

On the streets, the temperature soared above 100 degrees — if cellphone weather apps can be believed. The sky was dense with smoke from fires in Oregon, prompting another “Spare the Air” day. BART slowed down its trains because the rails got so hot.

Trader Joe’s on University Avenue had to shut temporarily, and throw out some of its food, after refrigerator units on the roof failed, prompting the cold units in the store to warm up, according to Maso Paderna, a manager. The store shut at 6:30 p.m. but hoped to reopen around 7:30 p.m, he said.

And it won’t be much better Saturday.

Berkeley residents headed to the usual spots seeking relief: libraries, movie theaters, even stores with air conditioners. Ice cream stores were popular places to visit. There was a water main break on Ashby Avenue and Sacramento Street: an instant swimming hole for South Berkeley, which doesn’t have its own public swimming pool. Some jumped right in.


Temperature records were smashed around the Bay Area. In San Francisco, it was 106 degrees, which shattered past records, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.  Weather experts predicted Livermore would reach 115 degrees.

Berkeleyans shared their tips about beating the heat with Berkeleyside.

But even those tricks couldn’t bring the temperature down. People reported it was more than 100 degrees outside. One man said the water in his house was above 90 degrees.

Andrea Lingenfelter and Neil Henry noticed the empty shelves at Target where fans usually are stocked.

Photo: Neil Henry

On the positive side, the heat and smog created a beautiful sunset.

Sunset on Sept. 1. Photo: Daniel McPartlan

Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently-owned local news site. Learn more about the Berkeleyside team. Questions? Email