Let's face it: summers are bearable in the wider Sacramento region thanks to a merciful pocket of cool air.
But right now the Delta Breeze is not blowing.
Even on the Delta.
At New Romeo's Bait and Tackle in Freeport, the electric fan is set on high.
The store is tucked up against the Sacramento River. This may be the Sacramento Delta, but its breeze is not blowing.
"Since the weather's been 100 degrees and upwards, I haven't felt any breeze that's cool enough to be a breeze," says store owner Joedy Tran.
Her bait and tackle business has slowed to a trickle. Tran says no one wants to fish in this heat.
"We call it 'nature's air conditioner'," says KCRA's Chief Meteorologist Mark Finan.
"It's the breeze that keeps the Sacramento area a really livable part of the Valley."
How far it travels depends on its strength and the distance from the Delta. According to Finan, communities north of Chico and south of Modesto don't feel its relief.
The Coast Ranges block the Valley from the cool air of the Pacific.
But as Finan points out, there is a little gap: the Carquinez Strait, where the Delta pours out into the San Francisco Bay.
"And it's in that gap that that cool air can rush inland," explains Finan.
Cool air is very dense and stays close to the ground, so it doesn't climb over the coastal range very well.
"So that means it needs an opening in that coastal range to move inland," Finan says.
"When the Delta Breeze is working well, we can go from 105 degrees at 5 o'clock and drop down into the '60s by 9 o'clock."
In order for that to happen "what you like to see is for San Francisco to be socked in with fog — a thick fog — and maybe 60 degrees for a high," adds Finan.
So, one person's fog may be another person's sanity.
Tech consultant Todd Stein has lived in the Sacramento area for more than 20 years.
He describes the Delta Breeze as "earth's way of apologizing for the heat of the day."
According to Stein, being a fan of the coastal air earns him occasional mockery from his wife, who was born and raised in the Bay Area.
"Whenever I greet the Delta Breeze, she makes fun of me by repeating the phrase with a southern twang and a laugh."
Stein says it may sound like something out of the Deep South, but he's grateful its "sweet forgiveness" belongs to the Valley.
New Romeo's Bait & Tackle shop is located in Freeport. Julia Mitric / Capital Public Radio
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