California is heating up.
A punishing heat wave arrives today and is expected to peak over the weekend, bringing triple-digit temperatures to large swaths of the state’s interior. The predicted temperatures — the highest of 2023 so far — are a major departure from what’s been a comparatively cool spring and early summer in the state this year.
“It has been relatively quiet in California as of late, and that’s about to change,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at U.C.L.A., told reporters on Monday. With the weather expected to be on the hotter side for the next few weeks, he added, July is “looking like a very different month than May and June did in California.”
The same heat wave has already been baking Arizona and New Mexico. Phoenix may soon break a record for the longest stretch of consecutive 110-degree days ever recorded there.
As the heat wave stretches into California, only the coastal regions of the state are expected to be spared the extreme temperatures. Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced and Visalia are all likely to reach 109 degrees on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Palm Springs is expected to reach 120. Death Valley could break its record of 130 degrees.
Heat waves can set off wildfires, strain the state’s power grid and worsen air quality, state officials say. And they can kill.
More than 700 people die each year in the U.S. from heat-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High temperatures kill more Californians annually than any other type of natural disaster, and the problem seems only to be getting worse, Wade Crowfoot, the secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, said at a news briefing yesterday.
To prepare, the state is opening cooling centers and warning Californians to stay hydrated and to reduce outdoor activities whenever possible.
“Climate change is supercharging these heat waves,” Crowfoot told reporters. “These heat waves are becoming more and more dangerous.”
Temperatures in many parts of the state aren’t expected to drop much at night. That will “make this heat event feel more like a marathon than a few sprints of hot temperatures,” the Weather Service’s Bay Area office said in a forecast.
The worst of the heat is expected to ease by Monday or Tuesday. But temperatures won’t return to normal for several more days at least. Models from the Weather Service show a high probability of above-average temperatures across the state through July 26.
“This will not be, like we’ve seen this year, a brief one- or two-day event,” Swain said. “This is going to be a very prolonged multiday event.”
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from David Hayashida, who lives in Greenbrae. David recommends visiting Half Moon Bay, about 30 miles south of San Francisco:
“I love visiting Half Moon Bay. I start my day at Pillar Point Harbor and buy a whole fish off the boat. Walking along the docks in the early morning and chatting with the fishermen about their catch is a unique and fun experience, and the overall quality and price of fresh Half Moon Bay fish purchased off the boat cannot be beat.
I take my catch to a local fishmonger and have it expertly filleted for a nominal charge, and then I’m off to Pillar Point Bluff for a short hike. The bluff has wonderful views of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and the tide pools below. Mavericks, a legendary big wave surfing spot, is about half a mile offshore.
After hiking, I stop at Dad’s Luncheonette, which operates out of an old train caboose along Cabrillo Highway. The restaurant’s chef and owner, Scott Clark, has created a menu of delicious casual comfort food using local ingredients, including the iconic ‘Dad’s hamburger sandwich.’
From April to December, the Half Moon Bay Coastside Farmers’ Market takes place in the parking lot adjacent to Dad’s and features exceptional local produce, baked goods, flowers and other artisanal products. It is a smaller, low-key farmers’ market, and the vendors are very friendly.
When I arrive home, I fire up the grill and enjoy the bounty and appreciate the community of Half Moon Bay with friends and family.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
What books would you put on a California reading list? What fiction or nonfiction best captures the Golden State, and why?
Email us at CAtoday@nytimes.com with your suggestions. Please include your name and the city where you live.
And before you go, some good news
In what The East Bay Times called a rare piece of environmental good news, Lake Tahoe’s average visibility has increased to more than 70 feet in the past few years — akin to being able to see seven stories below the surface.
“We haven’t had this level of clarity since the 1980s,” Geoffrey Schladow, the director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at U.C. Davis, told the news outlet.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.
Briana Scalia, Maia Coleman and Sadiba Hasan contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.