Heat wave sets Bay Area records

Triple-digit temperatures that broke records in several Bay Area towns on Saturday, including an 89-year old high in downtown San Francisco, are expected to last through the middle of the week, according to Brooke Bingaman with the National Weather Service.

Residents struggled to stay cool this weekend, thousands of them without power, in the heat wave.

“We are experiencing a heat wave that is breaking several long standing records,” Bingamin said. “The high pressure system that is causing this heat wave did begin to show signs of it weakening. The emphasis though is it is going to be a gradual cooling trend.”

The bad air quality caused by the heat forced the Bay Area Air Quality Management Districtto declare the fourth and fifth consecutive Spare the Air Days on Sunday and Monday, encouraging travelers to take public transportation and carpool.

As was the case on Sunday, however, Monday commuters will have to pay for public transportation, including BART, because the funds for free transit days have been used, according to BART spokesman Linton Johnson.

On freeways Sunday, digital signs usually used for traffic alerts, urged drivers to conserve energy. Despite the signs, 329,000 Bay Area residents had to bear the sun’s wrath over the weekend without the aide of air conditioners and fans because of a “taxed” PG&E system.

By Sunday, PG&E, with 500 crews working over the weekend, had restored power to 291,000 customers, but it could still take a couple of days to get the rest switched back on, according to PG&E spokesman David Eisenhauer.

He said that while rolling blackouts are not imminent, the power company is still urging residents to continue conserving energy.

“While it’s an unprecedented heat wave for sure, we do see this happen occasionally when it gets this hot, but not to this extent,” Eisenhauer said.

At the Crepes on Cole restaurant in The City, tank tops and sandals were the order of the day.

People trying to escape the heat crowded the small café sipping iced teas and eating chilled salads to stay cool.

“When it’s hot, you just want to leave the room,” said Jonathon Langton, who was seeking refuge from his scalding apartment.

Half-naked sunbathers stretched across the green lawns of Alamo Square. At a neighborhood park on Carl Street, Justin Smith decided to embrace the warm weather by playing soccer with his young son.

“If you can’t beat it, join it,” he said.

sfarooq@examiner.com

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