KPIX 5 Morning Weather Anchor Roberta Gonzales answers the questions you never get to ask on-air.
It was yesterday when I was driving from the Mojave Desert through Wasco (population around 25,000) when I noticed groups of laborers working in the late summer sunshine. The afternoon task found men and women feverishly attaching tarps to rows and rows of vines. I pulled over and stopped my car. The thermometer read 103 degrees. I wondered, is it too hot for the vineyards? It definitely is for the workers.
While I always think of Livermore, Napa, Sonoma and Monterey as wine country, I seldom think about the Central Valley. Since Labor Day, the “crush” has been on in our local vineyards. But yesterday, as I spoke with some of the field workers securing the tarps, much of the Central Valley is getting geared for their robust crops to be picked and groomed in October. Depending on the type of grape and variety. And while Northern California has been woefully in the throes of a four-year drought, the Central Valley is preparing for more rain, the second drenching in a week and there is an urgent need to monitor the grapes and vineyards carefully.
On this last full day of summer 2015 I find myself thinking of those working outdoors. On Monday, record breaking heat, and today up to 25 degrees cooler. I really embrace our California weather. Granted, I would embrace it a lot more if we could get some much needed rain and snow! Most of California has a Mediterranean-like climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Along the coast, the average daily high temperature is around 70°F, but can occasionally spike to 80°F or more on hottest summer days; freezing temperatures are rare, even in winter.
So to say we experience “Indian Summer” would not be accurate. The definition of “Indian summer” is the first hard freeze after an unseasonably warm period. Our legendary fog often hugs the coast from roughly Monterey through the Bay Area and to the north, usually during summer months and it often burns off by midday before rolling in again by the evening hours. Farther inland, summers are hot and dry, winters cool and wet, with occasional brilliant blue days and temperatures cold enough to freeze puddles on the ground, but not much more than that
Autumn, (which officially begins Wednesday morning at 1:21 am), brings mild weather through November. This is probably the best time to visit our local Bay Area wineries as well as others up and down the state to enjoy the crush through October. Let me know if you see any tarps! And be sure to stop and let the workers know how much we appreciate their hard work, rain and shine!
Please send weather questions, observations and photos to me, Gonzales@kpix.cbs.com and I look forward to hearing from you!