The Bay Area braces for record temperatures

As Ian Coletti was assembling his bagpipes for the bagpipe and drumming competition at the Scottish Highland Gathering Games on Sunday afternoon, he realized he may have overdressed in his kilt, long sleeves and his vest as the temperature cracked 100 degrees at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. in Pleasanton.

“It’s blisteringly hot,” Coletti said, his sleeves rolled up and his cap drenched in sweat. “It’s not typical weather for us.”

But the Scottish Games played out as they had 155 years before, even as a few hundred participants fanned out in woolen blazers and knee-high socks. The main attractions were the Slurpees and ice cream, which are not considered typical Scottish fare, and the place to be was in the shadow of the Alameda County Fair offered at noon.

“We’re here to beat the heat,” said Karen Baniqued of Livermore as she and a friend stood in the mist under a blue awning. There were hundreds like her who came voluntarily to the inland valley which needed to break a temperature record, in order to compete in the Scottish Games.

“Just kiss it,” said Silicon Valley Pipe Band bagpiper Reese Parker.

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Artillery Sergeant. Matthew Duncan (left) and Sgt. Richard Mounts receives water as he completes the Kilted Mile at the Scottish Highland Games in Pleasanton. The games are happening just as an intense heat wave grips the Bay Area.

Brittany Hosea-Small / Special for The Chronicle

Kissing her was pretty much all anyone could do on Sunday and kissing her should be harder on Monday and Tuesday.

“This is just the first day of real heat,” said Matt Mehle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Bay Area. “People should come prepared and exercise caution when engaging in any outdoor activity.”

At the Scottish Games, caution was to set up the music and performance stages under trees, with listeners seated on the ground and away from direct sunlight.

The performers modified their dress as much as possible. Americas Smith didn’t wear the tight corset under her dress like she normally does. But she couldn’t give up the faux mink on her shoulders as she walked the grounds inviting people to join her court and follow to meet the Queen of the Saint Andrews Noble Guild.

His attendant, Tony Souza, was dressed in black with a velvet jacket, leather boots and a hat, not wanting to sacrifice his looks. “I’m having a great time,” he said, “but the heat doesn’t make me want to go out.”

Athena McKinnon, 7, drinks water after finishing the Kilted Mile race at the Scottish Highland Games in Pleasanton.  The games are happening just as an intense heat wave grips the Bay Area.

Athena McKinnon, 7, drinks water after finishing the Kilted Mile race at the Scottish Highland Games in Pleasanton. The games are happening just as an intense heat wave grips the Bay Area.

Brittany Hosea-Small / Special for The Chronicle

One couple who found triple-digit sweet heat were Gary and Diana Phelps. They had driven from their home in Grand Terrace, San Bernardino County, where temperatures are expected to hit 110 degrees this week.

“We’re coming out of the heat here,” Gary said.

These San Bernardino temperatures are the kind of heat that could arrive on Monday, which is expected to be the hottest day of the heat event. State officials have urged residents to stay cool and hydrated as people flock to the beaches for respite from the scorching heat.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat watch until 8 p.m. Tuesday and an excessive heat warning until 8 p.m. Wednesday. Grid operators issued another statewide flex alert on Sunday, calling on residents to voluntarily conserve power between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

“While we won’t break many records today, Monday and Tuesday are expected to be warmer and relief will be very slow in coming, said National Weather Service Bay Area meteorologist Brayden Murdock. “It’s more of a marathon than a sprint.”

Labor Day weekend records aren’t expected to fall until Monday, but one place expected to top it is Gilroy, which is forecast to reach 104 degrees, which would slightly exceed the all-time daily record of 103 set on the 4 September 1998.

Even San Francisco, which had been isolated by fog and onshore flow, began to warm up on Sunday. By mid-afternoon it had reached 86 degrees on Tank Hill in the middle of town. It was a rare afternoon at Oracle Park where the Giants swept the Phillies. Flags that normally flapped briskly were withered on their masts. The little wind blowing from left field for perhaps the first time this season.

At the beach the temperature was still in the 60s and the word was out. Pacifica police issued a tweet warning of slow traffic on Highway 1. BART also issued a warning to expect 10-minute delays on the Antioch and San Francisco airport lines in due to the heating of the tracks.

During the last major heat wave in June, track temperatures exceeded 140 degrees on the indoor tracks. Fifty passengers had to be evacuated. Since then, BART has employed a policy of speed reductions and delays whenever temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees in order to keep runways cool.

No traffic delays were reported on major highways Sunday afternoon. But the annual migration out of Burning Man was slower than usual on Sunday with dust covering the roads due to a windstorm that brought whiteout conditions on Saturday, when the giant wooden effigy was burned in the Black Rock Desert. The exodus was moving at 5 mph and it took just an hour to get from the gate to the nearest freeway.

At the Scottish Games, the temperature finally reached 105 degrees. The pipe and drum contest continued despite the scorching weather.

“It’s about maintaining and trying to stay cool,” Cumming said before playing. “We’re just thinking about the beer (which we’ll drink) afterwards.”

Jessica Flores (her) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: jessica.flores@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @jessmflores

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