What to expect at Bay Area beaches, public pools this weekend as people seek refuge from heat wave

ByLena Howland, Anser Hassan KGO logo
Saturday, September 3, 2022
Climate refugees flee inland heat wave to Bay Area beaches
Bay Area beaches, like Pacifica, are expecting swarms of people looking to cool off during the Labor Day weekend heat wave.

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- Beating the heat will likely be on the minds of many over Labor Day weekend.

LIVE: Track real-time temps amid Bay Area heat wave

That's why Northern California beaches could be a good place to cool down during the holiday heatwave.

"It's like a nice cold shower in the morning," Greg Brainard, a San Francisco resident said.

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The natural air conditioner is in full effect and that's exactly why climate refugees from the warmer inland regions of the Bay Area are making their way to Pacifica beaches.

"I imagine the water's going to feel really good when it's nice and hot too," Brainard said.

Surfing into Labor Day weekend, Erez Bustan and his son drove up from Los Angeles to help cool off because they were also experiencing 100-degree heat.

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"Oh it's cooler, nicer, the water is fairly warm by comparison, I would say, so it's a lot of fun," Bustan said.

With the average temperature hovering around 70 degrees in Pacifica, chances are, the only parking spots available by the beach are the ones for your board.

But judging by the number of surfers in the ocean, that might be wishful thinking.

"These lots are definitely going to fill up this weekend so I would say, good luck!" Aditya Lakshmin, a San Francisco resident said. "That's what I would say to people, get out here early."

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John Degunto and his dog Kiah live within walking distance of the beach.

"Traffic's gridlocked, it's going to get bad," Degunto said. "If I want to go get something at the other end of town, forget it. I gotta do it early or don't do it at all.

And he says when heatwaves come around, locals like him have two options.

"You either stay home and hunker down or you get out of town because people are going to swarm this beach, they're going to swarm them all," he said.

But coming to cool off or not, locals would like to remind you to respect their beach.

"As a local, please bring your trash home with you, that's really what we'd like you guys to do," he said.

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The hottest day Pacifica might see this weekend is going to be on Labor Day, with a high of 73.

A stark 30-degree difference compared to East Bay cities like Dublin, expecting their high on Monday to be 106 degrees.

East Bay public pools staff up for Labor Day weekend

In preparation for the busy weekend and excessive heat, the City of Walnut Creek has scheduled extra staff at its public pools.

People are also beating the heat by heading to public pools to cool off.

Clark Swim Center at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek is a popular destination.

"It's nice here in the pool. It's high 70s. So, the pool water is nice," says Cole Welsh, a Walnut Creek resident who came to swim laps.

Labor Day weekend is traditionally the last big weekend of recreational swimming explains Karen Heaston-Martin, the Recreation Program Manager for the City of Walnut Creek.

In preparation for the busy weekend and excessive heat, she says they've scheduled extra staff, despite the ongoing lifeguard shortage impacting public pools across the country.

"We have condensed the areas available for public swimming, which has allowed us to increase our staffing, give our staff more breaks," says Heaston-Martin. "And, also monitor some of the spaces we will be opening as kind of cooling areas. We have a classroom and weight room that are fully air-conditioned. We anticipate the people may need to get out of the (heat), and go sit in there for a little bit."

Clare Shields, who lives in Pleasant Hill, wanted to cool off and beat the crowds, so she came out for an early afternoon swim.

"I think it's going to be super busy. This pool gets populated from Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, people come to this as an outdoor pool. (It's a) great pool!" says Shields, who has been swimming here for more than 30 years.

If public pools are too crowded, there are private pools for rent.

Amy Sabol has her pool at her home in Orinda on offer for $65 an hour on the app Swimply. It's like Airbnb, but just for swimming pools.

"This weekend, we have been inundated with requests," says Sabol.

Her pool comes with a kitchen, guest house, shower and music to blast around the patio. She says there's been huge demand all summer, especially for this weekend.

"We get tons of requests a week. It is usually people in the community, neighbors, families," explains Sabol. "If we really wanted to, I could probably create an entire economy off my pool."

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