How to survive the dangerous Labor Day weekend heat wave in Southern California

Miguel Garcia of Tujunga wipes the sweat off of his face Friday after jogging at Hansen Dam Recreation Area in Pacoima.
Miguel Garcia of Tujunga wipes the sweat off of his face Friday after jogging at Hansen Dam Recreation Area in Pacoima.
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

A dangerous heat wave is bearing down on Southern California this weekend.

Here are the key things you need to know:

The forecast

Virtually all of California will be under an excessive heat watch or warning beginning Friday or Saturday and continuing through Sunday or Monday. Forecasters say temperatures are expected to climb 15 to 20 degrees above normal in some areas through the weekend — and warned that records will likely fall.


Los Angeles County health officials Friday announced that an extreme heat warning will be in effect through Tuesday for the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, as well as the eastern and western San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

In L.A. County, highs could range from 100 to 117. Overnight highs could run from the 70s to the 80s. Highs could exceed 100 in downtown L.A. on Saturday and 110 in Anaheim.

“Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.” the National Weather Service said. “Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.”

Sunday will also be hot, with a cooling trending coming Monday.

Power issues

Some major utilities warn that the one-two punch of sweltering conditions and increased energy demand could stress the power grid to its limit, potentially resulting in outages.

“For this weekend, conservation is key,” said Jim Hanggi, a spokesman for Southern California Edison.

The California Independent System Operator, which runs the power grid for most of the state, has already issued a statewide flex alert — calling for residents to voluntarily cut back their electricity consumption from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

California ISO Vice President of Operations Eric Schmitt told reporters that although the last major heat wave saw rotating power outages hit the state on Aug. 14 and 15, “at this point, we are not forecasting any blackouts.”

ISO officials cited several factors they hoped would help California avoid rolling blackouts this time around, including the flex alert, a previously issued “restricted maintenance” order requiring that planned routine outages be postponed and coordination with other state agencies “to encourage additional load conservation and make additional generation capacity available for the holiday weekend.”

Holiday conditions

Although Los Angeles County beaches were either closed or limited to active recreation during the summer’s previous holidays, county public health officials, in consultation with the leaders of the county and its beach cities, decided to keep the coastline open for Labor Day.

But they’ve cautioned that if there’s overcrowding, that could change.

“Obviously we hope [beaches] don’t have to shut down because if they don’t shut down, that means that hopefully everyone is following the rules,” said Nicole Mooradian, public information officer for the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Those rules are: Wear a mask at all times unless you’re in the water or eating or drinking, keep six feet apart from all those who don’t live in your household, and abstain from gatherings and group sports including beach volleyball.

The department will have volunteers at several beaches, including Will Rogers, Zuma and Dockweiler, to remind people of mask and distancing rules. The so-called goodwill ambassadors, who are county disaster services workers, will also be handing out trash bags and promoting a “pack in, pack out” message, Mooradian said.

In neighboring Orange County, beaches will also remain open for Labor Day.

“We are expecting more beachgoers than normal and we want them to help us by keeping safety in mind with respect to the water, heat, and COVID-19,” Eric Blaska, public information officer for the Huntington Beach Fire Department, said in an email.

Staying safe

Here are tips from NWS:

—Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

—Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

—Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.

—Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible.

—To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.

—Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency. Call 911.

Cooling centers

Officials have said people should avoid being outside this weekend. Here are a list of cooling centers open to the public.

-- Quartz Hill Library, 5040 W. Ave. M-2, Quartz Hill, open through Sunday, noon-
6 p.m.;
-- El Monte Community Center, 3130 Tyler Ave., El Monte, open Saturday and
Sunday, noon-6 p.m.;
-- Griffith Manor Park, 1551 Flower St., Glendale, open Friday and
Tuesday, 10 a.m-6 p.m.;
-- Pacific Community Center, 501 S. Pacific Ave., Glendale, Saturday
through Monday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.;
-- Chimbole Cultural Center, 38350 Sierra Highway, Palmdale, open
through Tuesday, noon-6 p.m.;
-- Las Palmas Park, 505 S. Huntington St., San Fernando, open through
Tuesday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.;
-- Buena Vista Library, 300 N. Buena Vista St., Burbank, open through
Monday, noon-6 p.m.;
-- Robinson Park, 1081 N. Fairs Oaks Ave., Pasadena, open through
Monday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.;
-- Salazar Park, 3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, open through
Sunday, noon-6 p.m.;
-- Sunshine Park, 515 Deepmead Ave., La Puente, open through Sunday,
noon-6 p.m.;
-- Valleydale Park, 5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave., Azusa, open through
Sunday, noon-6 p.m.;
-- Stevenson Ranch Library, 25950 The Old Road., Stevenson Ranch, open
through Sunday, noon-6 p.m.;
-- Museum of Art and History, 665 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster,
ongoing, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.;
-- Ken Miller Recreational Center, 3341 Torrance Blvd., Torrance,
Saturday through Sunday, noon-6 p.m.;
-- Senior Center/Community Center, 201 E. Bonita Ave., San Dimas, open
through Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.;
-- Crowther Teen & Family Center, 241 W. Dawson Ave., Glendora, open
through Monday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.;
-- Huntington Park Library, 6518 Miles Ave., Huntington Park, open through Sunday, noon
to 6 p.m.;
-- Topanga Library, 122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, open through Sunday,
noon to 6 p.m.;
-- Claremont Library, 208 N. Harvard Ave., Claremont, open through Sunday, noon
to 6 p.m.;
-- Memorial Park, 320 N. Orange Place, Azusa, open through Monday,
noon to 6 p.m.;
-- Royal Oaks Park Building, 2627 Royal Oaks Drive, Duarte, open
through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
-- San Gabriel Adult Recreation Center, 324 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel, open
through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and
-- South El Monte Senior Center, 1556 Central Ave., South El Monte, open through
Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

The city of Los Angeles will operate cooling centers from noon to 8
p.m. Friday through Monday at:
-- Canoga Park Senior Citizen Center, 7326 Jordan Ave.;
-- South Los Angeles Sports Activity Center, 7020 S. Figueroa St.;
-- Lake View Terrace Recreation Center, 11075 Foothill Blvd.;
-- Normandale Recreation Center, 22400 S. Halldale Ave., Torrance; and
-- Lafayette Recreation Center, 625 S. Lafayette Park Place.

The city of Long Beach will operate cooling centers from noon to 6
p.m. Saturday and Sunday at:
-- Admiral Kidd Park, 2125 Santa Fe Ave.;
-- El Dorado Park West, 2800 Studebaker Road;
-- Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave.;
-- Long Beach Senior Center, 1150 E. 4th St.; and
-- McBride Park, 1550 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

Cooling centers in Orange County will also be open. Residents should
call ahead to verify hours. The centers include:
-- Downtown Youth Center, 225 S. Philadelphia St.
Fountain Valley:
-- The Center at Founders Village-Senior and Community Center, 17967
Bushard St., 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Garden Grove:
-- H. Louis Lake Senior Center, 11300 Stanford Ave. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
La Habra:
-- 101 W. La Habra Blvd., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
Laguna Woods:
-- 24264 El Toro Road, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
La Palma:
-- Cool Center at the La Palma Police Department, 7792 Walker St.,
hours vary, call for more information, (714) 690-3370.
Newport Beach:
-- Newport Coast Community Center, 6401 San Joaquin Hills Road, 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m.
Seal Beach:
-- Marina Community Center, 151 Marina Drive, 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.