.Dangerous Heat Wave, Fire Weather in Sonoma, Napa Counties

So we’re now a couple of days into this insane, record-setting Fourth of July heat wave to end all heat waves. In response, weather officials and local government leaders have been issuing a dizzying array of alerts and warnings for us to heed over the coming week. These are the main ones:

  • “Excessive heat warning” issued by the National Weather Service for our whole region, lasting through next Tuesday night
  • “Heat advisory” for health danger issued by the Sonoma County Health Department, lasting through this Friday night
  • “Red flag warning” for fire danger issued by the National Weather Service, lasting through Friday morning for large swaths of Sonoma and Napa counties

In a nutshell: It will continue to be brutally, dangerously, even life-threateningly hot for the next week, with highs in triple digits — pushing 110 degrees in some places — and not much relief overnight, as low temps linger in the 60s. “Drink plenty of fluids, stay cool, stay out of the sun, and check up onrelatives and neighbors,” the National Weather Service says. Here are links to lists of the public “cooling centers” open right in Sonoma and Napa counties, including libraries, schools, community centers, etc.

Of course, all of this crazy heat and low humidity means heightened wildfire risk as well, especially when the wind gets to blowing. In the words of our local Cal Fire unit: “The aligning weather and fuel conditions has the potential to create extreme wildfire behavior this week, and that significance cannot be understated. Please avoid any activities that could ignite a wildfire.” This includes using power tools in your yard — and, of course, setting off rogue Fourth of July fireworks, you hooligans.

PG&E officials also warned everyone earlier this week that they might have to start shutting off power in some areas, to lessen fire risk — and indeed, residents in Petaluma, Cloverdale, Calistoga and other communities started reporting power outages yesterday and today. Some appear to be planned; some not. You can check the PG&E website for updates.


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