Fall heat wave turns ‘happiest place on Earth’ into hottest place in America

Disneyland guests sit in boats on the "It's a Small World" ride in 2015. Anaheim, which is home to the park, was the hottest place in the nation on Monday, reaching a high of 98 degrees.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Mickey Mouse and his guests at Disneyland endured quite a scorcher on Monday.

The city of Anaheim, home to the theme park, earned the title of hottest place in the United States for the day after reaching a sizzling 98 degrees. Yorba Linda and San Pasqual Valley trailed slightly at 97 degrees while Fullerton, Chino, Escondido, Santee, Long Beach and Death Valley all reached 96 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

“Ironically, no records were broken, but it was still hot,” said Jimmy Taeger, a weather service meteorologist in San Diego. “And it’s going to be quite toasty through Friday.”

The normal high temperature for this time of year in the Orange County city is about 81 degrees. However, the mercury reached a record-breaking high of 100 degrees on the same day in 2017.


Southern California is in the midst of a fall heat wave brought by a mixture of high pressure and offshore winds with temperatures at least 10 degrees warmer than usual, Taeger said.

Temperatures ranging from 90 degrees to over 100 degrees are expected across much of the Southland through Tuesday. The coolest beaches in the region are expected to see the mid- or upper 80s, forecasters say.

The warming trend prompted the weather service to issue a heat advisory from 10 a.m. til 5 p.m. Tuesday, suggesting that people “drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.”

The heat will get a boost when Santa Ana winds arrive Wednesday night, bringing prime conditions for wildfires across the region. Forecasters say that, while there’s still some uncertainty about the strength of the winds, they anticipate peak gusts of 20-60 mph.

“There’s a fire weather watch in place on Thursday and Friday, but we still have elevated fire weather conditions today with it being hot, dry and a little bit windy,” Taeger said.

Similar conditions have helped fuel brush fires across the region this month, including blazes in Pacific Palisades, San Bernardino and the San Fernando Valley.

Even in light winds on Monday, firefighters rushed to stop a blaze that quickly chewed through about 40 acres in Pacific Palisades, burning dangerously close to multimillion-dollar homes in a hillside neighborhood and sending a plume of smoke visible throughout the Los Angeles Basin.

In San Bernardino, firefighters took on a blaze that broke out Monday afternoon near homes in the Little Mountain area. The fire started shortly after 5 p.m. in thick brush near West 39th Street and North Severance Avenue. Aided by wind gusts of up to 30 mph, the fire raced up hills, burning about 20 acres and damaging at least three homes. The cause of both fires is being investigated.

High temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds are also expected in portions of Northern California on Wednesday and Thursday.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced it may shut off power to up to 209,000 customers beginning as early as Wednesday evening amid heightened concerns that hot weather and strong winds could lead to wildfires.

Portions of 15 counties, down from an anticipated 17 a day earlier, in the Sierra Foothills and the North Bay could be affected by the outage. Those counties are Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Sierra, Sonoma, Sutter and Yuba, according to the utility.


Southern California Edison said Monday it was also considering shutting off power to more than 17,000 Edison customers in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. However, as of Tuesday morning the utility had no plans to move forward with the outage.