Santa came in on a sleigh with the top down this year and a tank top on as high temperatures broke many records around the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond on Christmas day.
Barbecues were more in order as balmy and sunny skies covered most of the East Bay past Concord down to Santa Cruz. Record highs were recorded in Salinas at 82 degrees with Oakland coming in at 69 degrees. This year is not only one of the warmest Christmas's on record but also one of the driest years with only 5.59 inches of rain recorded this year for San Francisco.
"The lack of rain also extends an incredibly dry year," said Jan Null, a forecaster with Saratoga-based Golden Gate Weather Services.
Yesterday as this Examiner drove to find an open grocery store, I observed a very thick layer of brown haze covering the San Francisco Bay. Poor air quality prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to declare on Christmas Day its third-straight "Spare the Air Day."
A fourth "Spare the Air Day" has also been declared today and Bay Area residents aren't permitted to light wood fires for 24 hours. That makes a record setting 19 "Spare the Air Days" issued for the Bay Area since the season started.
"We have had this big blocking ridge of high pressure over the eastern Pacific for the first part of this rainy season," said Null.
As a result, "The jet stream takes all the storms and drops them down into the center of the country, which is why they keep getting storm after storm, while we're dry," he said.
This pattern is not totally unusual, but the length of time that the Bay Area's high-pressure ridge is hanging around is striking.