Oppressive heat wave intensifies as temperature records fall

Another oppressive day is on tap for California and the West as a heat wave enters its third and potentially worse day.

Eyes will be on Palm Springs, where forecasters said the temperature could reach an all-time high. The current record is 134 degrees.


Temperatures will be in triple digits Sunday in many Southern California valley and desert locations, officials said.

On Saturday, several desert and Inland Empire communities set records Saturday, including Palm Springs (122 degrees), Indio (121) and Riverside (105), according to the National Weather Service.

Needles set a record of 120 degrees, according to AccuWeather.

Other record highs for the date were recorded in Lancaster (111), Paso Robles (111), Idyllwild (98) and Camarillo (89), according to the NWS.

Closer to Los Angeles, Granada Hills, Chatsworth, Woodland Hills, Lancaster, Claremont and Santa Clarita recorded triple-digit temperatures Saturday afternoon.

Officials said the extreme heat will continue until at least Tuesday.

"It's early in the heat season. Usually our hottest months are August and September. We're not even in July yet, but this is a massive high-pressure system and it's just smothering," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

Not only is it hot during the day, it's not getting very cool at night. The low temperature overnight in Burbank, for example, was 74 degrees.

"That's making people most uncomfortable," said National Weather Service meteorologist John Dumas. "Everybody knows they will be hot by day, but when it doesn't drain down at night, it's a lot harder. If you can go to bed and cool off and get a good night's sleep, you can recover. But if you can't, it's a huge challenge to your day."

The last significant heat wave in Southern California was in 2009, when the region baked for two weeks.In Los Angeles, the heat is a particular concern to firefighters because it comes in a year of record dry conditions that have already sparked several major brush fires in the area.

Adding to the fire danger, fireworks also went on sale Friday in some areas for the Fourth of July.

Since January, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to about 2,900 fires, department spokesman Daniel Berlant said. In an average year, he said, it would have responded to fewer than 1,800 by this time.

Dry brush is a reason for the increase in fires, Berlant said. Current weather conditions are more typical of late August or early September, he said.

"We're in a long-term drought," climatologist Patzert said. "The situation is extremely crispy and dry. That equals incendiary."


Several agencies opened cooling centers — air-conditioned facilities where the public can escape the heat — in Los Angeles County. For information about the centers, call 211 or view an interactive map of the centers online.