If you sweated through the heat in San Luis Obispo on Tuesday, it was for good reason: The city was the hottest spot in the nation.
Yet despite temperatures that topped out at 108 degrees, the weather in San Luis Obispo was still a far cry from the all-time highs for Sept. 27, according to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.
In 2010, San Luis Obispo hit a nearly incomprehensible maximum of 111 degrees.
Earlier in the day when the high was only at 106, Lindsey said, “That’s one of the warmest temperatures ever recorded for San Luis,” adding that he thought San Luis Obispo might challenge other hot-weather standard-bearers for the crown Tuesday. “I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s happened before.”
As of 1 p.m., Las Vegas had only reached a high of 88, while Death Valley was at 98. All of the nation’s hottest weather appeared to be concentrated in California.
After checking with the National Weather Service, Lindsey confirmed at 4 p.m. that the high of 108 was the day’s winner nationwide — that is, once he tossed out the 127-degree reading from Beverly Hills, which was about 30 degrees above any surrounding areas and thus clearly bogus.
Locally, San Luis Obispo wasn’t the only place in triple digits. The Avila Valley reached 107. And Pismo Beach posted a high of 103 by 1 p.m., while Lopez Lake came in at 104. Atascadero and Creston reached highs of an even 100.
Credit for the hot weather goes to a combination of forces including an already-warm air mass, a strong ridge of high pressure, no clouds and winds blowing out of the northeast, Lindsey said.
The winds themselves coming from that direction can increase temperatures 5.5 degrees for every 1,000 feet of descent, he said. So as the winds push from the North County over the Cuesta Grade into San Luis Obispo, it’s like a natural heat fan at work.
Elsewhere, highs reached 100 in Santa Maria at 1 p.m., well off the record of 105 in 2010. Paso Robles came in at a balmy 93, down from the all-time high of 108 in 2010.
“2010 was the bellwether,” Lindsey said.
Just missing the century mark were Los Osos and Cambria at 99, with Santa Margarita and Arroyo Grande at 97. Morro Bay peaked at 86.
If this heat spell was too much for you, don’t worry. Cool air is on the way as the marine layer moves back in, Lindsey said.
On Wednesday, in fact, he forecast highs of 77 in San Luis Obispo and 90 in Paso Robles, with temperatures in the 60s at the coast.
“Some of the coastal regions could see 40 degrees of cooling tomorrow,” he added.