Crowds flock to Monterey Peninsula to avoid heat wave

Peninsula Premier Admin

MONTEREY — With high temperatures as much as 30 degrees lower than the Central Valley and parts of the Bay Area, crowds flocked to the Monterey Peninsula over the Labor Day weekend to avoid the heat.

Rob O’Keefe, president and CEO of the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, called Labor Day an “exceptional holiday” for the region.

“We get about the same number of travelers as compared to any other summer weekend,” he said in an email. “The big benefit is that extra booked night — it is very valuable. One more night in Monterey County over Labor Day equals over $8 million in additional visitor spending. Our approach in the summer isn’t necessarily to bring in more visitors, but to get them to stay longer. One more night is worth millions.”

Unlike weekends earlier in the summer, sunny skies rather than fog greeted visitors as they descended upon the Peninsula. Beaches up and down the coastline were filled with visitors looking to escape triple-digit temperatures.

Dalton Behringer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Monterey office, said a shallow marine layer has sheltered the immediate coastline from extreme heat.

“The marine layer is extremely shallow,” Behringer said early Tuesday afternoon. “What we usually see is a (marine layer) depth of like 1,000-1,500 feet or so, maybe even up to 2,000 feet and that keeps everyone cool enough, even deep into the Salinas Valley. But right now, we’re looking at 300 feet, if not even a little bit lower.”

While the marine layer was enough to keep the Monterey Airport’s high temperature Monday at 82 degrees, Salinas set a record with a high of 103.

Behringer said a weather station at Point Lobos was showing a temperature in the 60s Tuesday afternoon, while another weather station up the hill — above the marine layer — was at 99 degrees.

King City reached 106 degrees Monday, breaking its daily record of 105 from 2020. Gilroy reached 112 Monday, tying its previous record high for the month of September (the city previously hit 112 degrees in 2020 and 2017). In the Bay Area, Livermore set a record for the month of September at 116 degrees. In the Central Valley, Stockton set a record for the month of September with a high of 112.

In inland parts of Monterey County, cooling centers opened to provide relief from the heat for residents. Greenfield said it will keep its cooling center, at the Community Science Workshop at 45 El Camino Real, open through Saturday.

While high temperatures are forecast to remain in the 100s for many parts of the state, the cooldown on the coast should begin Wednesday with a stronger marine influence pushing in.

“It will not be a super-quick cooldown, but a gradual decline into the weekend,” Behringer said.

High temperatures along the Peninsula are expected to drop back down into the 60s by later in the week. Behringer said the fog is unlikely to return right away but will be more likely as the week continues.

Looking ahead to the weekend, a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms are possible Sunday as the remnants of Hurricane Kay move north.

“The mid-level moisture is going to make it here but the instability is still kind of the question and who exactly will see the best instability,” Behringer said. “It’s kind of a widely scattered chance at this point, not really a slam dunk for anyone, but for right now the confidence is highest for the southern portions of Monterey and San Benito counties.”

Contributed by local news sources

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