Expect warming weather trend for Labor Day weekend

A gradual warm-up is predicted in the North Bay starting on Friday, gas prices are high and hotels are mostly booked here for the holiday weekend.|

If you’re staying put this Labor Day weekend, expect sunny skies with a gradual warm-up, from the upper 70s on Friday to the lower to mid-90s on Sunday and Monday, according weather forecasters.

Smoke from wildfires in northwestern California that drifted into Sonoma County and other parts of the Bay Area on Thursday will start to clear starting on Friday, according to David King, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service based in Monterey.

Also, there are no “spare-the-air” alerts in effect for the holiday weekend, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District website.

The summer travel season is predicted to finish strong in the North Bay and throughout the state. Local hotels report they are full or nearly full for the last holiday of the summer while motels and hotels in California are exceeding bookings from pre-pandemic 2019 for the Labor Day weekend, according to Northern California AAA spokesperson Sergio Avila.

“We’re 92% to 95% booked Friday and Saturday, but we do drop to around 60% on Sunday,” said Shana White, front desk and event organizer for Hotel E in downtown Santa Rosa. “We’re getting calls from people wanting rooms this weekend.”

Over on the coast in Bodega Bay, a front desk agent said the Bodega Coast Inn & Suites was nearly booked solid for the weekend and had been receiving calls from last-minute travelers.

If you’re headed out by car for the holiday, gas prices will be about the same as last weekend, an average of $4.39 per gallon statewide, “which is extremely high,” Avila said. Prices have started to level off, though, he said.

“As the demand starts to slow after Labor Day, we’re expecting gas prices to continue leveling off and start to drop,” he said. “We’ve noticed that higher gas prices don’t deter people from traveling. They may cut corners in other ways, like staying at a budget hotel.“

AAA predicted that the top travel destinations for Californians this weekend are Las Vegas, Anaheim, San Diego, Los Angeles or Sacramento.

“Usually on long weekends, the busiest day is Friday, right after work,” Avila said. “That’s likely when you’ll see the heaviest traffic on the roadways.”

Car travel is by far the most popular option, with 90% of travelers choosing to drive.

With COVID-19 infections ramping up as a result of the delta variant, “it could be they feel more comfortable traveling in their car with family or friends” away from crowds, according to Avila.

If you’re planning to fly, Avila said AAA suggests travelers get to the airport as early as possible “because likely a lot of things have changed since you last took a plane trip.”

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at kathleen.coates@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5209.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.