California city sets record for the most days over 100°F — and summer isn't over yet

·Senior Editor
·3 min read

One day after setting its all-time high temperature record with Tuesday’s blistering 116° Fahrenheit reading, Sacramento, Calif., bested another hot weather mark, recording its 42nd day in a single year of temperatures over 100°F.

Set in 1998, the prior record for the most days in a calendar year with high temperatures of over 100°F was 41. With temperatures forecast to hit a high of 111°F on Thursday and 110°F on Friday, the rest of the week will pull Sacramento well ahead of that mark.

When the city hit 106°F on Wednesday, it was the eighth consecutive day that temperatures topped 100°F. By week’s end, Sacramento will have set a third record, topping 100°F for 10 consecutive days.

The heat wave that has gripped California since the weekend has re-written temperature records across much of the state, and Sacramento, the state capital which is located in the central valley, found itself in the crosshairs of unrelenting heat virtually every single day.

The Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif.
The Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif. (Getty Images)

California’s power grid has been tested for the past week as residents blast air conditioners in an attempt to stay cool from the unprecedented high temperatures. California’s Independent System Operator, which maintains the state’s power grid, has issued a series of alerts warning that rolling blackouts were possible as a result of spiking demand for electricity.

On Tuesday, the day Sacramento set its all-time high temperature, California Gov. Gavin Newsom thanked residents for reducing energy usage, but warned that the possibility of outages remained.

“Californians have stepped up in a big way during this record heat wave, but with the hottest temperatures here now, the risk of outages is real. We all have to double down on conserving energy to reduce the unprecedented strain on the grid,” Newsom said. “We need everyone — individuals, businesses, the state and energy producers — to do their part in the coming days and help California continue to meet this challenge.”

Numerous studies have linked the extreme rise in summer temperatures to climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels. The scorching temperatures speed up the evaporation of the landscape, dramatically increasing the dangers posed by wildfires.

As if on cue, fires erupted this week in several locations across the state, including the Mosquito Fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of Sacramento. That blaze has continued to increase in size as temperatures have baked the region and fire officials said Thursday that it threatens more than 1,000 homes and structures.

“The fire is burning in extremely difficult terrain including steep canyons where directly attacking the fire can be difficult,” the California Department of Forestry said in a statement.

While the hottest weather of the summer appears to have passed for much of the state, Sacramento will get relief from triple-digit heat on Saturday, when the temperature is expected to reach just 89°F. Then again, summer isn’t officially over until Sept. 23, and climate change has a way of defying expectations.