Heat, air quality, energy advisories headed to Berkeley this weekend

Berkeley likely won’t face wildfire risk during the heat event due to mild coastal winds, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service’s excessive heat warning isn’t touching Berkeley, specifically, but region-wide impacts of the heatwave will place the city under additional advisories for air quality and energy. Credit: NWS

Local temperatures will stay under 80 degrees this weekend despite a region wide, statewide heatwave, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), but Berkeley will still be under a spare the air advisory and energy reduction alert for the next few days.

David King, meteorologist for NWS, said the heat is due to a high-pressure system building in Nevada. Like the recent heatwave three weeks ago, Berkeley will be spared the hottest temperatures due to its proximity to the San Francisco Bay, but inland areas could hit over 100 degrees and much of the Bay Area (including the East Bay Hills) is under an excessive heat warning from noon Friday to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Berkeley will warm up too but mostly experience mild afternoon sea breezes, instead of dryer, windier conditions that could put the Berkeley Hills at risk for fires during a heatwave. Neighboring Oakland and Richmond will hit the mid-80s, but also remain cooler than inland Bay Area cities in Contra Costa County.

“We don’t have any expectations for fire risk (in Berkeley), however this heat event is going to further add to dry conditions throughout the Bay Area,” King said explaining that wind speeds will remain around 5-10 mph unless conditions change.


The Bay Area Air Quality District also announced a spare-the-air alert for Saturday due to smog from car exhaust and triple-digit inland temperatures (which effectively “cook” what’s in the air). Air quality in Berkeley is forecasted to be in the “moderate” zone, or between 50-100 on the air quality index.

Residents are asked to limit outdoor activity during the alert, and it is illegal to burn wood, fire logs, pellets or other solid fuels in fireplaces, wood stoves, outdoor fire pits, and other wood-burning devices.

Friday evening from 4-6 p.m., the California Independent System Operator is issuing a “flex alert” asking that California and Bay Area residents conserve energy due to stresses on the energy grid during the heatwave. The agency said the alert is also due to the Bootleg fire in Oregon, which is currently at 39,000 acres, threatening power lines.

PG&E is recommending the following actions to conserve energy during the event:

  • Pre-cool your home or workspace. Lower your thermostat in the morning. As the temperature rises outside, raise your thermostat and circulate the pre-cooled air with a fan.
  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health permitting: Every degree you lower the thermostat means your air conditioner must work even harder to keep your home cool.
  • When it’s cooler outside, bring the cool air in: If the outside air is cool in the night or early morning, open windows and doors and use fans to cool your home.
  • Close your shades: Sunlight passing through windows heats your home and makes your air conditioner work harder. Block this heat by keeping blinds or drapes closed on the sunny side of your home.
  • Cool down with a fan: Fans keep air circulating, allowing you to raise the thermostat a few degrees and stay just as comfortable while reducing your air conditioning costs.
  • Charge your EVs outside peak hours. Along with using large appliances, remember to charge your electric vehicle in the morning or after 9 p.m.
  • Clear the area around your AC unit: Your air-conditioning unit will operate more efficiently if it has plenty of room to breathe. The air conditioner’s outdoor unit, the condenser, needs to be able to circulate air without any interruption or obstruction. Also, dirty air filters make your air conditioner work harder to circulate air. By cleaning or replacing your filters monthly, you can improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.
Supriya Yelimeli is Berkeleyside's homelessness and housing reporter. Email: supriya@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: SupriyaYelimeli. Phone: 510-585-8315.