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The Best Time of Day For an Outdoor Thanksgiving Dinner in the Bay Area

When to host an outdoor gathering according to Thursday’s weather forecast

If you must gather, gather outdoors

Here’s what we know: the Bay Area is at a critical moment when it comes to slowing the spread of COVID-19, and avoiding multi-household gatherings is a significant key to reducing transmission of the highly contagious virus. But we also know that despite all these warnings, folks are still getting together for dinner on Thursday. One way to make those (still advised against!) gatherings slightly safer is to hold them outdoors, with distance between diners from different households. Luckily for us in the Bay Area, the weather is still warm enough that outdoor dining can be quite pleasant if one dresses for the elements and chooses the right mealtime.

The first thing to know is that the Bay Area forecast calls for “high clouds, sunshine and no chance of wet weather,” says ABC7 meteorologist Mike Nicco, which means a crisp, clear day and no drizzle, fog, or damp.

According to the National Weather Service, the high for Thursday will be 66 degrees inland, 64 in areas near the San Francisco Bay, and around 60 at the coast. That high is expected at around 2 p.m., and it’s expected to remain warm until 4. Expect a sharp drop around then, though: Sunset on Thursday is at 4:52 p.m., which means that without a fire pit or heat dish, dining outside will get pretty chilly. But not impossible, as according to the NWS, as temperatures will remain in the high 50s until around 6, but by 10 (also known as “curfew time” for those in the Bay Area’s purple tier counties), expect temperatures in the low 40s.

But though the sun will be bright, and temperatures warm enough for comfortable outdoor dining from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., there’s one more wrinkle: Moderate winds are also expected across the region during that time, with gusts as high as 25 mph expected in San Francisco, the North, South and East Bays, and down the Peninsula. So make sure to tack your napkins and fluttery bits under a bottle or dish, and take heart in this study, which suggests that as the wind blows harder, the risk of COVID-19 transmission might slightly drop.