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California summer means bring a sweater

It's been a bummer of a summer for Sonoma County sun worshipers.

By this time last year, Santa Rosa had sweated through 18 days of 90-degree-plus temperatures. So far in 2010, only two days above 90 degrees were recorded, both in June, according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile July, which is normally a hotter month, turned into a prolonged period of sweater weather.

North Coast's Cool Summer Weather

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The average maximum temperature was 75.1 degrees, more than 7 degrees below the 50-year average for July and filled with cool evenings and cold nights. In fact, it was the second lowest temperature average for July since 1960, barely warmer than the coolest July in 1987.

"I keep telling people I've been waiting for summer to arrive and it hasn't come," said Don Hicks, recreation supervisor for the City of Santa Rosa.

For Hicks, the cool temperatures couldn't have come at a worse time. Just as he's trying to protect the pools from cuts or closures resulting from the city's economic woes, the weather has slashed attendance.

In typical years, the pools routinely fill to capacity forcing new arrivals to wait in line until others exit the pool. This year, that's occurred only one or two times, Hicks said. And the cold mornings have made swim lessons a hard sell for the Tadpoles, the youngest customers.

The number of people coming to family swim times or lessons at Finley Aquatic Complex and Ridgway Swim Center plunged from 34,649 last July to 23,515 in the same month this year, a 32 percent drop.

"I'm seriously concerned because of lower attendance and reduced revenue because of the weather," Hicks said.

Elsewhere locally cooler temperatures have been blamed for everything from delayed harvests to reduced attendance at the Sonoma County Fair to sub-par rides for hang gliders, who depend on rising heat for lift.


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