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‘Hot, hot and hot’ — heat wave will bake Southern California starting Friday, with relief a ways off

Parkgoers take in the sunset at Signal Hill Park on a warm afternoon on July 31.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California’s already hot weather will reach even more sweltering heights through the weekend, as a prolonged heat wave will send temperatures soaring 5 to 10 degrees above normal and keep firefighters throughout the region on alert.

Those additional ticks on the thermometer come at a time of year when temperatures are already typically at their highest, leading forecasters to warn residents to take precautions to protect themselves from the dangerous heat conditions.

“People really need to take it seriously,” said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “Drink a lot of water. Find shade.”

In light of the heat wave — and the expectation that Californians will crank up the AC in response — the California Independent System Operator also has issued a statewide flex alert, asking residents to conserve electricity between 3 and 10 p.m. Friday to reduce strain on the power grid.

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While high temperatures always raise fire concerns in Southern California, Hoxsie said winds are expected to be calm — welcome news for crews that have already been busy battling blazes this week. The Lake fire burning north of Santa Clarita has scorched more than 11,000 acres and is 12% contained, while the Ranch 2 fire near Azusa has charred more than 3,000 acres with no containment.

“High heat, low humidity means that fires surely will start more readily, but it’s the winds that really drive them,” she said. “So, as long as the winds stay low, which they will, the conditions are not extreme.”

However, virtually no stretch of the Southland will be spared from conditions that Hoxsie said will be “hot, hot and hot.”

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“We’re expecting the heat to continue through the weekend and into next week, probably peaking on Monday, Tuesday,” she said. “We have an excessive heat warning out for the Antelope Valley through Tuesday and the interior valleys through Monday.”

The Los Angeles County coast, as well as downtown, is under a less-severe heat advisory until Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Starting Friday, highs for the next few days are expected to largely range between 100 and 110 degrees in the Antelope, Santa Clarita, San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, according to Hoxsie.

The Inland Empire and high desert also will see their mercury top out in the mid-to-high 100s. The Coachella Valley and interior deserts will be even hotter, with some areas forecast to approach or hit 120.

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Even after the initial peak of the heat wave, forecasters said hot conditions will persist through much of next week.

“Unfortunately, the heat won’t lose grip and we can expect temperatures to increase yet again for the middle of next week,” Bruno Rodriguez, a National Weather Service meteorologist in San Diego, said in a video briefing Thursday. “The extended nature of this heat is especially concerning because, obviously, the cumulative effects from so many days of above-average temperatures is definitely going to act to increase the overall heat risk.”

Officials said residents should make sure to drink plenty of water, stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible, reduce physical outdoor activities and wear loose, light-fitting clothing during the heat wave.

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Due to the Lake and Ranch 2 fires, the South Coast Air Quality Management District on Friday issued a smoke advisory for the Santa Clarita and San Gabriel Valleys. It warned older adults, children and people with heart and lung diseases to stay indoors. Pets also should be brought inside.

Meanwhile, L.A. County is opening a number of emergency cooling centers Friday to help residents beat the heat.

“Offering free emergency heat relief is an important service to help keep vulnerable members of the public safe and healthy during heat waves,” Kevin McGowan, director of the county Office of Emergency Management, said in a statement.

Centers will operate in compliance with COVID-19 safety criteria, officials said, and be open at the following locations:

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Valleydale Park
5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave. in Azusa
Friday through Sunday, 12 to 8 p.m.

Buena Vista Library
300 N. Buena Vista St. in Burbank
Friday through Monday, 12 to 6 p.m.

Canoga Park Senior Center
7326 Jordan Ave. in Canoga Park
Friday through Monday, 12 to 8 p.m.

Claremont Library
208 N. Harvard Ave. in Claremont
Friday through Sunday,12 to 8 p.m.

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Grace T. Black Auditorium
3130 Tyler Ave. in El Monte
Friday and Saturday, 12 to 6 p.m.

Griffith Manor Park
1551 Flower St. in Glendale
Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Pacific Community Center
501 S. Pacific Ave. in Glendale
Saturday through Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Pecan Recreation Center
145 S. Pecan St. in Los Angeles
Friday through Monday, 12 to 8 p.m.

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Salazar Park
3864 Whittier Blvd. in Los Angeles
Friday through Sunday, 12 to 8 p.m.

Slauson Recreation Center
5306 Compton Ave. in Los Angeles
Friday through Monday, 12 to 8 p.m.

Quartz Hill Library
5040 W. Avenue M-2 in Quartz Hill
Friday through Sunday, 12 to 8 p.m.

Las Palmas Park
505 S. Huntington St. in San Fernando
Friday through Sunday, 12 to 6 p.m.

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Sherman Oaks East Valley Adult Center
5056 Van Nuys Blvd. in Sherman Oaks
Friday through Monday, 12 to 8 p.m.

Stevenson Ranch Library
25950 The Old Road in Stevenson Ranch
Friday through Sunday, 12 to 8 p.m.

Topanga Library
122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga
Friday through Sunday, 12 to 8 p.m.


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