Berkeley’s upcoming heatwave will be milder than inland areas, but still hot, dry

Fire risk will be offset by low winds and a cool marine layer later in the week

A sunset at Indian Rock in June 2018. Credit: Jerome Paulos

Berkeley will be spared the Bay Area’s hottest temperatures as the region braces for an end-of-week heatwave, but peak numbers could reach the 90s in some areas of the city further from the shoreline.

The heatwave has already begun in many parts of the Bay Area and some inland areas, like Antioch, Livermore and Concord, could see blistering temperatures as high as 108 degrees.

Berkeley’s unique positioning between the San Francisco Bay waters and the East Bay foothills means it will get cooler temperatures, as well as a greater range of them, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jerry Díaz.

He said a hot air mass from the east is currently inching its way toward Berkeley, offset by a cool, marine air mass in the Bay from the west. Areas in the Berkeley Hills could see highs in the low 90s on Thursday, while the Berkeley flats and West Berkeley will likely stay closer to the 80s.

The day will begin warm, with morning temperatures in the 50s and 60s, and Díaz said nighttime temperatures will stay warm.

“The good news in this instance is that winds are going to remain fairly light in that area (of the Berkeley Hills),” Díaz said, addressing the ongoing fire risk in the Berkeley Hills, compounded by very hot, dry conditions expected this week. “But while the fire concerns there are low, it doesn’t mean there aren’t fire concerns at all.”

By Friday, a “saving grace” of marine air will return to the East Bay and temperatures will drop throughout the city to the upper 70s and low 80s.

Berkeley received a light drizzle on Sunday night from what Díaz called a “very shallow, but very intense marine layer” that made its way to the foothills. Unfortunately, it wasn’t substantial enough to wet vegetation and offset both man-made or naturally occurring wildfire risk.

“While it was nice to see some drizzle in the area, it simply wasn’t enough moisture to help this current event we’re going to. It all evaporated pretty quickly,” he said.

Residents in the Berkeley Hills have also been reporting the smell of smoke throughout the week, but they’re not of immediate concern — it’s actually coming from six wildfires ongoing in Utah. Those fires are nearly a thousand miles away from Berkeley, but wind patterns have brought some of the smoke over to the West Coast.

For now, that smoke will stay very elevated and isn’t posing any air quality concerns, Díaz added.

Supriya Yelimeli is Berkeleyside's homelessness and housing reporter. Email: supriya@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: SupriyaYelimeli. Phone: 510-585-8315.