Summer arrived two weeks early on the North Coast Saturday, shattering records in Cloverdale and Mendocino County and sending residents and visitors into shady spots in Sonoma County, where peak temperatures mostly fell short of the scorcher predicted.
The early-season heat produced big crowds on beaches along the Russian River, while others sought relief at public water fountains, outdoor patios and ice cream parlors.
"I think it's going to be a huge day," said Mark Norman, a Sonoma County park ranger, who was monitoring water safety efforts at Veterans Memorial Beach in Healdsburg, where nearly 190 people had already encamped by 1 p.m.
An ocean breeze kept temperatures from soaring in much of the North Bay. The high in Santa Rosa, according to AccuWeather, was 90 degrees, far short of the 102-degree record set in 1973.
In Cloverdale, Sonoma County's hottest spot Saturday, temperatures climbed to 105 degrees, topping the record of 101.
Father north, still air in Ukiah generated record heat. About 3 p.m. the thermometer at the Ukiah Regional Airport peaked at 111 degrees, eclipsing the previous mark for June 8 of 102 degrees, also set 40 years ago.
Across the Bay Area, few places reached the highs predicted last week. No areas in the North Bay came close to records, said Duane Dykema, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Temperatures are set to cool dramatically Sunday, dropping by as much as 20 degrees throughout the region, with fog reaching inland by early morning.
Still, most signs pointed to a scorcher Saturday, and many people were seeking ways to beat the heat, or just bear it.
Cyclists started their workouts early in the day, wrapping up rides through the countryside by mid-morning.
"Perfect," Santa Rosa cyclist Greg Murphy said about conditions after finishing a 38-mile ride with his wife and two friends by 10 a.m.
Two hours later Roberta Atha, 50, and Ron Marincic, 44, cooled off with their feet in the central fountain at Healdsburg Plaza, sheepish grins on their faces.
"We're worried we might get arrested, but we're risking it anyway," said Atha, a Santa Rosa resident. "It feels great."
Others who were working outside sought shade when they could and made sure to hydrate.
That included a Pacific Gas & Electric crew assisting with utility hookups at a new service station off Shiloh Road in Windsor.
Gary Lathrop, the foreman, said he'd heard no complaints from his crew.
"What good is it going to do them?" he said, smiling.
In Santa Rosa, carriage driver Ted Draper found a shaded parking spot outside the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens for his rig, led by Diamond Lil, a 17-year-old mare. They were to transport the couple in a wedding of a D'Argenzio daughter, from the local winemaking family.
Draper, dressed in a top hat and tuxedo, and Diamond Lil, an Arabian breed prized for her endurance, both showed no signs of wilting in the heat.
"The breeze has come up, so we're not too bad," Draper said.
You can reach Staff Writer Brett Wilkison at 521-5295 or brett.wilkison@