The term heat wave gets thrown around a lot but this one is different for a few reasons. Here are 5 quick things to think about.
1. Don't focus just on the high temp. These temps will be somewhat close to records but I think its the days-on-end heat that will make this heat wave one to remember. The record days at 100 or hotter for downtown Sacramento is 9. Right now I see for potential 8 and maybe more. It's totally possible we can get some clouds some day and we dip to upper 90s and break the streak but in my opinion it doesn't matter much. The difference in how 98 degrees and 100 makes you feel is very minor. Think of this heat wave as one of relentless heat for more than a week and longest perhaps since the early 80s.
2. Mornings will be very warm. Sometimes you get a situation where the wind can shift or things can just line up for a nice overnight cool down. This is not really one of those patterns. It will be hot during the day and the lows will be in the 70s for many of us. That shrinks your window of comfortable weather to exercise or do other things by a lot. We might hit the 80s by 8-9am in the morning so get ready for warm mornings to start your hot day.
3. The relentless heat will start to affect health. We have an excessive heat watch for most of Northern California starting on Friday. Extended time outdoors could make you sick or worse. Excessive heat doesn't sound extreme but it's the top level warning from the National Weather Service. You could experience heat stroke, exhaustion, dehydration, and a number of other issues. Basically take it easy, don't wait until you are thirsty to drink water, and take extra steps to keep an eye on seniors, children and pets, they often have difficulty communicating their condition.
4. These are LONG days. The summer solstice this year is June 20, on Tuesday. That means that the next 12 days or so will have the most daylight so it will be hot, and bright for a good chunk of the day. The A/C will be cranking and your power bill will not be fun to look at next month. Do what you can to stay cool and save energy but there is not a lot you can do with a heat wave like this.
5. Air quality will probably not be good. There is a decent chance a grassfire or forest fire could break out at some point during this heat wave but even if that doesn't happen these patterns set up for stagnant air, with little wind and usually smog becomes an issue, so it's another reason to limit activity outdoors.
We have had many heat waves over the years but treat this one a little differently. It's going to be hot, for a long time with long days and take this one seriously.