Monday was an ice cream day for Jorge Aldama and his kids, who opted for the cool indoor treat at the Santa Maria Town Center mall as temperatures hit triple digits across the Central Coast and broke the record in Santa Maria.
Aldama, a Santa Maria resident who coaches 8- to 10-year-olds for Nipomo’s American Youth Soccer Organization, had time for the mall trip because he called off soccer practice as a result of the heat.
“We’re so used to 60- to 70-degree weather,” Aldama said. “Especially with kids, it’s hard for them to regulate their body temperatures because of their body mass. They’re not used to this type of weather. They don’t have that judgment to hold themselves back at practice, stay hydrated. Rather than take a chance ... take the day off, we’ll pick up later.”
The heat, caused by a strong ridge of high pressure over the western part of the country, broke the record for Oct. 1 in Santa Maria.
The high of 100 was five degrees hotter than the record of 95 degrees recorded at the Santa Maria Airport in 1980. The normal high for the date is 74 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
In addition to the high pressure, “we also had some light northeast winds,” said NWS meteorologist Ryan Kittell. “Those two factors combined with the lack of any low clouds or fog allowed the temperatures to get as high as they are.”
The combination of hot temperatures, gusty winds and very dry air will produce elevated fire danger through today, although no Red Flag warning has been issued locally.
Temperatures in other inland parts of the Central Coast hit triple digits as well Monday, with Santa Ynez topping out at 106. Closer to the coast, Lompoc recorded a high of 91, the Santa Barbara Airport hit 88 degrees and Pismo Beach was a mild 74.
Kittell said it should be somewhat cooler today, with a high in Santa Maria of 97 degrees. On Wednesday, the high temperature is expected to fall between 20 and 25 degrees, with a high of 78.
Lows through Wednesday should remain in the mid-50s.
A return of breezy onshore winds this afternoon will cool temperatures, but conditions will remain quite hot and dry for areas away from the immediate coast, according to the weather service.
During the period of hot weather, the NWS warns people never to leave children, the elderly or pets in enclosed automobiles, even for a short period of time.
Even if the windows are partially open, temperatures can quickly rise to life-threatening levels, the weather service warns.
Also, people planning outdoor activities should take the heat into consideration and adjust accordingly. Wear loose fitting light weight clothing and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.