Additional reporting by Nicholas Christen
Autumn is here, so says the calendar. Living on the coast, it might be easy to think that California escaped the heat wave suffered by much of the nation this summer. While that may be true for most of the large coastal population centers, it was a different story for much of the state's interior farm belt.
Throughout June and July, even Central Valley spots escaped much of the heat felt by the Great Plains, though Cal Expo officials blamed the heat, in part, for tamping down attendance at the state fair. Then things heated up quickly -- especially in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys -- through August and into September. Valley towns including Redding, Red Bluff, Sacramento, Merced, Madera, Fresno, and Bakersfield, have been on the order of three-to-five degrees above normal for the duration of August and September.
Fresno saw 27 days above normal during August and most of those days were at least three degrees above normal, a string one meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Fresno called, "pretty amazing."
Even Central Valley farmers, who are used to triple-digit days, were taken aback.