If you’ve been waiting for cooler weather to plan outdoor activities, your wait ends this weekend.
The high temperature for Sunday is forecast at 84 degrees, the first time Fresno will have a high temperature under 85 degrees since June 11 — when the high was also 84.
Monday will be even cooler, with a forecast high of 83 degrees. But don’t start digging out those fleece jackets and wool socks quite yet — temperatures are forecast to climb back into the 90s for the remainder of next week.
This weekend’s mini-break from the heat “is a good sign that fall is knocking on our door,” Jim Andersen, a National Weather Service meteorologist in the Hanford office, told GV Wire on Thursday.
For those heading outdoors, skies should mostly be clear of wildfire smoke from the KNP Complex fire burning in Sequoia National Park east of Visalia and other fires around the state, Andersen said.
The departure of a high-pressure system will allow coastal air to pour into the Valley from the west, which should push wildfire smoke eastward, he said. However, there’s always a chance for a lull or wind shift that could cause the smoke to spiral back into the Valley. So keep an eye on local air quality conditions if you’re spending time outdoors, Andersen said.
You can check the air quality for any U.S. location at this link.
Hot Times, Summer in the City
The first half of September continued Fresno’s sizzling heat: a hottest-ever July, second-hottest June, and third-hottest (tie) August.
As of Wednesday, September’s average temperature was 83.6 degrees. Fresno’s hottest September was in 2012, when the average was 81.3 degrees, according to National Weather Service records.
Unless things cool down drastically in the final three months of this year, 2021 also could be a record-setting year for annual average temperature. The hottest year was 2014 when the average temperature was 69 degrees. The average for the first eight months of 2021 is 69.6 degrees.
The National Weather Service’s historical records, which begin in 1887, show that in the past nine years Fresno has recorded its hottest average temperatures (2014 followed by 2020, 2018, 2013, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2016, and 2019).
This year’s above-normal temperatures created another weather record — 68 days of temperature highs at 100 degrees or hotter, smashing the old mark 63 days set in 1984. Tuesday’s high was 100 degrees, marking the 68th day.
An End in Sight?
Andersen said that we could yet see more triple-digit weather.
“I kind of feel we may have seen the last of it, but we have known triple-digit days in October,” he said. “And especially with the summer we’re having, I would not want to go out on a limb. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.”
There might yet be some light at the end of this overheated tunnel. Andersen said longer-range forecasts include the development of weather patterns in Canada and the Gulf of Alaska that would push colder weather southward into California, “which is typical for fall.”
And maybe some much-needed rain this winter to moisten the drought-parched state?
“Hopefully that’s the case this year,” he said.