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Heat wave bakes L.A. as temperatures near record highs

Firefighters clear brush on a hillside to establish perimeter control for containment of the North fire near Castaic.
Firefighters from Los Angeles County Holton Conservation Camp clear brush to establish perimeter control for containment of the North fire near Castaic.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A spate of unseasonably warm weather will continue Friday in Los Angeles, with temperatures in some parts of the county expected to climb as high as 99 degrees.

“It’s enough above normal, I would even call it a heat wave,” said Kathie Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The forecast calls for 99 degrees in Woodland Hills — one degree shy of the record for the day, which was set in 1996. Burbank and Van Nuys could reach 92, while inland areas will mostly be in the 90s, Hoxsie said.

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The high temperatures are being driven by a ridge over the area that is allowing a hot air mass from the south to move north, she said. On Thursday, Woodland Hills reached 100 degrees. The previous record for the day was 101, set in 1959.

At least one record was broken Thursday, when temperatures in Sandberg hit 86 degrees, the National Weather Service said. The previous record was 85 degrees in 2015.

The elevated temperatures could create fire weather conditions through Saturday, forecasters said, with northeast gusts capable of reaching 35 mph Friday morning and humidity levels hovering below 15%.

Already, small brush fires have broken out in the region, including a 28-acre blaze that prompted evacuations in Thousand Oaks on Thursday and a Castaic blaze that grew to 650 acres Wednesday.

The National Weather Service is advising people to stay hydrated and to use caution when spending time outdoors or with any source of flame.

Conditions should start to cool Saturday, Hoxsie said, with temperatures likely to return to the upper 70s and low 80s across the L.A. region.

“It breaks pretty quick, and then by Sunday, we’re looking at the 70s across the inland areas,” she said. “So today is it.”

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The heat wave arrives as experts express concern about ongoing drought conditions across the state, with some warning that meager rains, parched vegetation and above-normal temperatures are paving the way for another severe fire season.

And while temperatures should break this weekend, there are no signs of moisture in the near future.

“If we had the chance of rain, we would be shouting that from the mountaintops,” Hoxsie said.


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