That old saw about how hot weather isn't so bad in the West -- "at least there's no humidity" -- wasn't working its magic Sunday for Ezhil Nakkeeran.
Nakkeeran was shopping under a pounding sun at the farmers market in Campbell and pining for Chennai, India -- a region of the world hardly known for its temperate climate.
"This reminds me of India," she said. "But at least in Madras, we have the humidity. (Here) it feels like we're baking."
A high-pressure dome of hot air over the Western U.S. kept the region a blast furnace, even as temperatures eased at least a tad Sunday in much of the Bay Area -- and quite a bit in San Francisco.
And it's not going to get much cooler in the coming days. An excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service for the Bay Area was expected to remain in place through Tuesday evening, meteorologist Charles Bell said. If conditions persist, he said the warning could be extended all the way through the July Fourth holiday on Thursday.
When the high-pressure ridge eventually either diminishes or moves eastward, it will still be warm, Bell explained, but just not as hot. Temperatures along the coast will be in the 60s and 70s; inland, 80s to 90s.
While the Bay Area baked Sunday, other parts of the West and Southwest broiled.
The thermometer hit 119 degrees in Phoenix on Saturday, the fourth-hottest day in metro Phoenix since authorities started keeping temperature records more than 110 years ago. The high temperature forecast for the metro area for Sunday was 116.
In the hottest weather to hit Southern California in five years, six half-marathon runners staggered into the hottest weather to hit Southern California in five years. They were hospitalized in the Pasadena area for heat-related illnesses during the 13.1-mile race. A number of runners requiring medical attention were extremely dehydrated, and some experienced cramps, said Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.
Paramedics were deployed along the race route and air-conditioned buses were provided for runners to cool off.
Several Southern California communities set same-day record highs Saturday including Palm Springs, where the mercury bubbled up to 122 degrees.
Death Valley, the hottest place on the planet, reached 127 degrees Saturday. It was forecast to be 1 degree hotter Sunday. As sweltering as it will be, it's still shy of its record high of 134 degrees, set nearly a century ago on July 10, 1913.
With a surge in air conditioning use taxing the power grid, the California Independent System Operator was considering issuing a "flex alert" warning customers to conserve. Even heavier use was anticipated for Monday when the business week begins.
The "deep end"
In a sign of the heat wave's intensity, Alum Rock Park in San Jose on Sunday was closed to the public because of increased fire danger, according to ranger Duncan Skinner. The park is always closed on Mondays, so the closure was in effect for two days.
But other parks in the region were teeming with soccer matches and pickup basketball games as well as walkers and joggers.
At a community garden in Santa Clara, Razija Tufekcic and several others tended their small plots filled with vegetables and herbs under the glaring midday sun.
"It's very hot, but I'm trying to give my veggies a nice shower," said Tufekcic, 60, a native of Bosnia. "Just look at my beans. They need it."
At the farmers market in Campbell, flower seller Sean Moncovich priced his hydrangea bouquets to move, at only $5.
"I'm trying to get rid of them before they wilt," he said. "The heat is really hard on flowers."
But "the hotter, the better" for Blenheim apricots, said Hollister farmer Katie Gonzales, offering rosy samples to passers-by. "It's right on time for them."
Sales were brisk despite the heat for raw milk seller Ron Lemke. He kept the dairy food in his refrigerated truck and was doling out samples from a bottle neck-deep in ice.
"They usually buy it last" so it doesn't spoil, he said.
In a sea of tanned shoppers at the outdoor market, Iceland resident Madia Roff and her milk-white skin stood out. She said it rarely gets up to 75 degrees in her country, so she was thrilled with visiting in the brutal heat.
"It's like being tossed in the deep end," she said, referring to the change in climate. "The temperature here is double what it was in Iceland two and a half days ago when we left."
Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482; follow her at Twitter.com/tkaplanreport.