It’s Friday. July has been record hot across the globe, but most Californians have been spared. Plus, San Francisco’s district attorney condemns recent attacks on older Asian Americans.
Perhaps you saw the news yesterday that July is shaping up to be Earth’s hottest month on record, an alarming milestone that reflects the harsh reality of climate change and is likely a harbinger of a sizzling future. And Southern California this week has been under heat advisories and warnings.
But for the most part, it hasn’t been an unusually warm month across California.
We’ve had heat waves and some inland cities have broken temperature records. But California is “one of the only locales in the entire world, in fact, that has been, until recently, near or below average, temperature-wise,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at U.C.L.A., told reporters this week.
It’s been an odd weather year here, starting with a very rainy winter that was followed by an unseasonably cool spring and early summer — conditions that were distinct from those of our planet overall.
In truth, there isn’t a whole lot to make of this, other than that there are year-to-year fluctuations within an overall warming trend, especially at the local level. In other words, California is still experiencing the impacts of climate change and generally getting hotter, even if this summer doesn’t turn out to set many records for scorching weather across the state, experts say.
The records that have been set this year have generally been concentrated in the interior of the state. In July, the California cities where daily high temperature records were broken included Anaheim, Sacramento, Redding, Merced and Palm Springs. On Thursday, Lancaster set a record high of 108 degrees.
But as Swain said: “If you’re living near the coast, you might be saying, ‘What heat wave?’”
Downtown Los Angeles, for instance, shattered a very different kind of milestone in 2023: For the first time since record-keeping began in 1877, the temperature didn’t reach 80 degrees in May or June. Meanwhile, San Francisco has a reputation for being downright chilly this time of year.
As anyone in the Central Valley or Inland Empire can tell you, this bifurcated pattern is typical for summer in California.
As for this weekend, coastal Southern California and the Coachella Valley will remain under heat advisories. But records aren’t expected to be broken, said Casey Oswant, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s office in San Diego.
Still, the year is far from over. Swain noted that California’s coastal regions tended to reach their temperature peaks during autumn warm fronts. The Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center says that there’s better than even odds that California will experience above-average temperatures through October — though chances are not as strong as in the South and Southwest.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from Kathryn Soll, who lives in Pacific Palisades. Kathryn recommends a trip to Catalina Island in the Channel Islands:
“From the time I was 5 years old, my family has called Catalina Island ‘our little getaway.’ These days I get to the Long Beach dock of the Catalina Express between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., anticipating a glorious two-night stay at Hamilton Cove, a gated, luxury, Mediterranean-style condominium complex. It’s a pleasant splurge, with a friendly Vons market, golf, tennis, snorkeling, a putting green, complimentary golf cart use and clear, blue-water beaches. On the nighttime return, there is a breathtaking view of the Queen Mary lit to the nines! Sigh, all refreshed from a ‘little getaway.’”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
And before you go, some good news
This month, a Powerball ticket worth $1.08 billion was sold in downtown Los Angeles, bringing joy to the neighborhood and to the family that owns the convenience store where it was doled out, The Los Angeles Times reports.
The family that owns the shop immigrated to California from El Salvador several years ago.
“We’re immigrants, and our family has made the business a success, and we have made this our dream,” said Angelica Menjivar, whose parents opened the business in 2017. “We show that it’s possible for anyone to make it.”
The store will receive a $1 million bonus for selling the winning ticket, according to the California State Lottery. The family said the bonus money would most likely be put into a savings account to ensure that its youngest members can attend college.