what the hills y’all: san francisco microclimates

What the Hills Y’all: Adventures of a Texas girl living in San Francisco

June gloom. Microclimate. Fog. So much fog.



I’ve heard about the fog in San Francisco. I’ve also heard that June and July are the coldest months of the year (while everyone else is in summer-mode), and I’ve also heard the famous quote “The coldest winter I’ve ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. I’ve heard all these things, but never experienced it. Until now.

Justin had an appointment in Inner Richmond last week, and when I went to go pick him up, the fog situation was so captivating driving from neighborhood to neighborhood it was tough not to take pictures (which I did at every stop light). Alamo Square Park was half-covered in fog. The streets were so foggy I couldn’t see the clearly on my left or right. The wind was insane the closer I got to Inner Richmond. “Woah, this is serious”, I kept telling myself.

The folks here are used to it, but a Texas girl, fog and heavy winds usually mean a storm is coming and you better get home. Here, it’s just called June.

The fog is one thing, but the temperature change was a whole newsflash. This weekend I needed to go from San Francisco to the south bay and the degree change was mind-boggling. I got into my car with a sweater at 65 degrees, and arrived to 95 degree weather that made me want to jump into a pool stat. As I met my friend (a fellow Texan), I couldn’t help but say “Welcome to Texas!”. A bit of me felt like I was home, only without the humidity and space.

Apparently, there is a microclimate here in San Francisco, which is something I’ve actually never heard of until moving here (micro-what?). According to wikipedia, the definition is a microclimate is:

a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet (for example a garden bed) or as large as many square miles. Microclimates exist, for example, near bodies of water which may cool the local atmosphere, or in heavily urban areas where brick, concrete, and asphalt absorb the sun’s energy, heat up, and reradiate that heat to the ambient air. 

Here is a great article about the microclimates specifically in the Bay Area. I suppose while in Texas they tell you if you don’t like the weather, just wait until tomorrow, here they would tell you to drive 20 minutes to the south bay.

As I made the drive home, I was welcomed back into San Francisco with gradual dropping temperatures and slight fog. It’s almost as California was telling me softly “you’re not in Texas dear, welcome to San Francisco, and don’t forget your jacket”.