How the Bay Area spent the Labor Day holiday amid this year's worst heat wave

ByDustin Dorsey, Luz Pena, J.R. Stone, and Cornell Barnard, Lena Howland, Tim Johns via KGO logo
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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California officials provided an update on its continued actions amid the Bay Area and state's dangerous heat wave and response to wildfires.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- From heading to the beaches in search of cool waters to taking care of animals from heat exhaustion, here's how the Bay Area spent this Labor Day to beat the triple digit heat.

Protecting animals from the heat

With record-breaking temperatures in Gilroy over the weekend, it was a priority to seek out somewhere to be cool on this hot Labor Day.

Unfortunately, there is no A/C in the barns of Woodmyst Farms, a horse boarding and training facility in the South Bay.

Just like us humans, the South Bay heat takes quite a toll on horses according to Woodmyst co-owner Efrain Guzman.

Regulating body temperature is critically important for horses and difficult when it's this hot out.

Despite normally being very active animals, to best protect them from the heat, they are given water baths, kept inside out of the sun and given plenty of water to prevent serious health issues like colics or even death.

Even on Labor Day, Guzman said his staff remained hard at work because the lives of these horses literally depended on it.

His advice on this hot day is simple and universal for humans and horses.

"Use your common sense to gauge how much you work them and how much you do or how much you don't," Guzman said. "Take care of yourself and your horse as well."

Thousands flock to Stinson Beach in search of cool waters

In the North Bay, thousands looking to beat the heat this holiday weekend converged on tiny Stinson Beach and things got crowded very quickly.

"It took about two hours today, the last hour we were a few miles away," said Oakland resident Rahsaan McGlashan-Powell.

He wasn't kidding. It took us more than two hours to go fifteen miles on the Panoramic Highway most of it bumper to bumper. Thousands of beachgoers all headed for the same spot.

"There was a huge traffic jam five miles out of town we found a pull out parked there and hiked to the park," said Leland Howard.

There were lots of citations. Marin County Sheriff's deputies issued more than 150 parking tickets over the weekend for illegal parking.

But once you made it, there was the payoff, gorgeous Stinson Beach where the temperature was about 80 degrees with a cool breeze.

"I came to beat the heat, it's supposed to be 115 degrees in Vacaville," said Eric Schlossarek from Vacaville.

Stinson Beach Market Owner Sergio Vergara was ready for the masses, stocking up on ice, food and drinks.

"We have extra everything, we knew the weather was going to bring folks from all over to the beach and beyond so we're ready for this," said Vergara.

Summer beach crowds and traffic are something locals have learned to deal with.

"There's seven million people in the greater Bay Area on any given summer day they show up, that's why I like the winter," said Steven from Stinson Beach.

Excessive heat shuts down East Bay pool

Despite the excessive heat in Brentwood, a popular water park closed Monday.

Nine year old Randy and 11-year-old Joshua don't know each other but today they have something in common.

"Disappointed," said Randy Pablo.

"I'm sad that they are closed because it's a hot day," Joshua Pacheco.

They showed up wearing their bathing suits ready to jump in the water at Brentwood's Family Aquatic Complex.

In an email to Brentwood's city council-members, the director of Parks and Rec said: "The temperatures Sunday to Tuesday would surpass the 110 degrees. Creating an increased risk for staff working outdoors. Adding "Even on a 15 minute rotation, which would be about as short as we could go, each lifeguard would need two breaks after every two spots, and we just don't have the staff for that."

Brentwood's Family Aquatic Complex will remain closed until Tuesday.

Without air conditioning, many San Franciscans head outdoors

It was a Labor Day under the sun for people in San Francisco's Marina District.

As temperatures soared into the afternoon, many ventured outdoors, trying to escape the sweltering heat inside.

"You don't need air conditioning except for one or two days a year, and then the days a year you do need it you're like, oh no," said San Francisco resident, Stephanie Elkin.

While some tried to find shade, others turned to ice cream.

Saadi Halil owns San Francisco's Hometown Creamery.

One of his trucks was parked at the Marina Monday, and he says there wasn't much down time.

"Both the shop is just kind of line out the door all day, and then here today as well," Halil said.

East Bay family gets creative to sleep better at night

Darkness in parts of Livermore Monday night as thousands lost electricity. This after the official high there reached 116 degrees Monday, an all-time record..

Just one of the many locations in the Bay Area dealing with the extreme heat.

"Outside it's 110 and inside it feels like 120 or more. Yeah because it's pretty hot in there," said JJ Pena of Napa.

Pena didn't lose electricity Monday like many others, but doesn't have air conditioning and as it heated up outside, it also heated up inside to the point where she had to get her kiddos out of their house.

"They're always whining, complaining they want to go to a pool. We were actually given this one, I went out to the stores but everything was empty," said Pena.

In fact Pena is taking things a step farther and set up a 10 person tent that her family will likely sleep in at night until temperatures drop towards the end of the week.

But outdoor tent nights seem to be what many are doing now. Leanne Wu, her son Nolan, and their entire family say, it's cooler outside.

"People are always like, 'hey you camping in your backyard? You must really like nature.' No bro, we don't got air conditioning! I'm so hot! said Leanne and Nolan in a TikTok video.

"We sleep outside and we've been trapped in the living room and we've been hanging out in the living room all day. We have this air conditioning machine but it's not really that good," said Nolan Wu.

"We have a little cross breeze with the two windows. That way we get a little air flow," says Leanne who continued, "I'm a little worried about how hot it's going to be at school tomorrow. Our school doesn't have AC and most of the schools in the district don't."

Something that could be a major concern Tuesday after we saw a high number of outages Monday in Livermore, San Ramon, Pleasant Hill, Rohnert Park, Napa, and Vacaville.

Statewide Energy Emergency Alert to avoid power outages

As Californians hunker down during a punishing heat wave, state officials on Monday issued a power grid emergency alert and renewed pleas for consumers to find ways to cut back on electricity use to help avoid rolling blackouts.

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

"We have now entered the most intense phase of this heat wave," said Elliot Mainzer, chief executive officer of the system. "Forecasted demand for Monday and Tuesday is at all-time record levels and the potential for rotating outages has increased significantly."

The state is looking at energy deficits of 2,000-4,000 megawatts-- up to 10% of normal electricity demand.

"In fact, we need two to three times as much conservation as we've been experiencing to keep the power on," Mainzer said.

During historic heat across the state over the past five days, consumers have done better than expected, officials said.

Power use over past two evenings came in about 1,000 megawatts below what was expected -- about 2% below the state's forecast for energy use, Mainzer said.

"We know it's been a long haul, and it's about to get even more difficult, but the efforts of electricity consumers and our partners at the utilities and state agencies are making a real difference," Mainzer said at a press briefing Monday in Mather alongside representatives of health, utility and fire agencies.

A statewide Flex Alert is in place for Monday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Tuesday from 4 to 9 p.m., and the ISO also issued the Energy Emergency Alert 2 until 8 p.m., indicating that energy deficiencies are expected because all resources are in use or committed.

VIDEO: What is a Flex Alert?

What is an Energy Emergency Alert 2?

ISO requests emergency energy from all resources and has activated its emergency demand response program. Consumers are urged to conserve energy to help preserve grid reliability.

Operators of California's power grid warned that there could be energy shortages if conditions worsen.

CAL ISO is reminding people to set their thermostats to 78 degrees and avoid using appliances during that time. President Elliot Mainzer said on Monday, Californians' efforts have been helping the power grid.

"Over the past two evenings, electricity have come in at 1,000 megawatts below our expectations or approximately 2% below forecasts," he said. "Our system operators attribute most of that difference in reduction of electricity use in response to our calls for load reductions. Your efforts to flex electricity demand in the critical hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. have been working well, and we really appreciate it."

Because of the Labor Day holiday heat wave, people across the state on Monday are once again being asked to conserve energy between 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday night.

As the sun rises over the East Bay, so do concerns of a possible power outage as the power grid is stretched to a new extreme.

In Livermore, with triple digits expected by the early afternoon, Sweta Plaha says on days like these, mornings are the only times she'd consider taking her daughter to a splash pad to beat the heat.

"It's just to keep cool to get her energy exhausted for the day before we get holed up at home," Plaha said.

This, while a city pool in Brentwood was forced to close through Tuesday because of the excessive heat.

RELATED: Extreme heat dangers and safety tips - What you need to know

It's a similar story for Antioch Tesla drivers who came to get a supercharge not long after sunrise.

Some say because it's a cheaper time of day to charge and others, just to do it while it's still cool outside.

Cal ISO warning electric vehicle drivers to conserve energy by charging before 4 p.m. on flex alert days.

"We're grateful for everyone's help but we have another day of hot conditions and high electricity demand and the event is going to get much more intense on Monday and Tuesday and persist across the course of next week," Elliot Mainzer, President and CEO of Cal ISO said in a video statement.

Peak demand is expected to increase to more than 48,000 megawatts on Labor Day and more than 50,000 megawatts on Tuesday, which Cal ISO says is close to the all-time record load demand for the system, originally set back in 2006.

"At the ISO, we know this has been a long haul and it's going to get more difficult, but your efforts have been working and your sustained efforts to flex your demand between 4 and 9 p.m. will help us maintain the overall reliability of the grid," Mainzer said.

Forcing families to think twice about what they use and when they use it.

If things get bad during a Flex Alert, there's potential for rolling blackouts.

During this heat wave, CAL ISO says it will be using available resources and tools to meet the heightened demand for electricity.

The CEO of CAL ISO released a video statement last week urging all residents to do our part.

"Like the extreme weather events we've seen throughout the summer, our best bet for getting through a challenge like this is when we all pitch in and do what we can," said Elliot Mainzer.

Those with electric vehicles are asked to charge their cars prior to 4 p.m. when more solar energy is available.

ABC7's Cornell Barnard, Dustin Dorsey, Lena Howland, Tim Johns, Luz Pena and J.R. Stone contributed to this report.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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