Stearns Wharf, State Street busy; heat trend expected
It was noon Monday, and this Labor Day traffic jam wasn’t on Highway 101 or one of Santa Barbara’s major streets.
It was on Stearns Wharf.
The pier was so popular that a long line of motorists at noon couldn’t find a place to park. In fact, pedestrians were walking faster than the cars, which crawled slowly in stop-and-go traffic worthy of a freeway until the drivers passed Moby Dick Restaurant. Faced with the pier’s end and the vast Pacific Ocean, they turned around for a somewhat faster trip back to Cabrillo Boulevard.
Nearby, scattered crowds stayed cool on the Santa Barbara beaches or did some walking or bicycling around the Funk Zone.
A few blocks farther, State Street was alive with pedestrians shopping and bicyclists cruising. One skateboarder kept rolling up the street/promenade as he chatted with a friend standing on a sidewalk. (It was a quick conversation.)
Farther down the street, people sat in the outdoor dining parklets of restaurants and chatted over lunch.
No doubt about it. This was Labor Day, and residents and out-of-town visitors were making the holiday count.
Tourists found Santa Barbara a good escape from the triple-digit temperatures of Los Angeles and Orange counties, and there was relief here for anyone visiting from Santa Ynez, where the National Weather Service reported a high of 99 Monday.
But even along the clear, blue Pacific, things were sizzling, and there didn’t seem to be the customary oceanside breeze, not even on the wharf.
Santa Barbara saw a high of 87 Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
But this is the land of microclimates, and a 10- or 15-minute drive can mean a difference. Goleta’s high Monday was 77.
Likewise, Lompoc had a high of 77; Santa Maria, 76.
Far from the coast, New Cuyama and Ojai fulfilled their destiny of being hot spots with respective highs of 95 and 105.
Things aren’t expected to get much cooler.
The National Weather Service predicted “very warm temperatures” would last through the week for Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
Santa Barbara is expected to see highs around 80 today through Thursday during partly cloudy conditions. The weather service said those clouds will remain Friday, but the high that day is expected to jump up to 86.
Saturday is forecast to be a sunny one for Santa Barbara, but the high is expected to be 85.
Relief from the heat is forecast for next week when Santa Barbara has a high of 76 on Sunday and 73 on Monday. Again, that’s according to the weather service.
UCSB, meanwhile, is forecast to have highs of 76 today, 74 Wednesday, 78 Thursday and 82 on Friday, all under partly cloudy conditions. On Saturday, UCSB will experience a sunny day and a high of 81, the weather service predicted.
Like Santa Barbara, UCSB will see much cooler conditions early next week, according to the forecast. Highs are expected to be 74 on Sunday and 71 on Monday.
Santa Maria, meanwhile, is forecast to have highs around the mid- to upper 70s today through Monday, with partly cloudy skies each day.
The best place to cool off seems to be Lompoc. The National Weather Service said the highs there will be in the low- to mid-70s today through Monday.
It’s a different story in Santa Ynez. Highs are predicted to be 91 today, 92 Wednesday, 95 Thursday and 99 Friday, all under partly cloudy conditions. Like elsewhere, sunshine will reign Saturday in Santa Ynez, but the high will be 93.
Early next week, Santa Ynez will have a bit of a “cooling” trend, in a manner of speaking. Highs on Sunday and Monday are forecast to be 87 and 85, respectively.
Cuyama will continue to be Santa Barbara County’s hottest spot. The weather service is predicting highs of 99 today and Wednesday, both sunny days in the area. But on the partly cloudy of Thursday, a high of 101 is forecast, followed by another partly cloudy Friday and a high of 99.
Cuyama will see sunny skies Saturday through Monday, with highs of 98, 93 and 90 for the three days.