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Most intense heat wave of year hits L.A. area: What you need to know

A street vendor pushes a food cart with downtown L.A. as the backdrop.
A street vendor pushes a food cart with downtown L.A. as the backdrop during the heat wave.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A major heat wave is bearing down on Southern California, bringing some of the hottest temperatures of the year beginning Tuesday.

Here is what you need to know:

Timing

The hottest conditions will come Tuesday and Wednesday, with gradual cooling Thursday and into the weekend, meteorologist David Sweet of the National Weather Service’s Oxnard office said.

The weather service issued an excessive-heat warning from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 9 p.m. Friday in the mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, not including the Santa Monica range.

‘Early heat waves and more frequent heat waves this summer will exacerbate an already serious situation,’ one climatologist said.

Conditions

Searing temperatures are expected in the inland parts of Los Angeles County, with Santa Clarita and Woodland Hills likely to reach 109 degrees Wednesday and Lancaster 111.

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The coastline will also see unusually hot conditions, with 86 degrees expected in Ventura and Malibu on Tuesday and 97 predicted for Long Beach.

Some of the hottest temperatures are expected in the low-desert areas, including the Coachella Valley and Borrego Springs, which could see highs between 110 and 120 for the entire week.

Temperatures could break records and will clock in about 10 to 20 degrees above what’s typically recorded this time of year in some places, said Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the weather service’s San Diego station.

20 hottest places around L.A.

The Inland Empire will, as usual, be hardest hit by the heat wave. But even the coastline won’t be spared from the blistering heat, with temperatures reaching into the 90s in some coastal areas.

Here are the expected highest temperatures for Tuesday around Southern California:

  • Needles: 122
  • Palm Springs: 117
  • Hemet: 108
  • San Bernardino: 107
  • Barstow: 107
  • Palmdale: 106
  • Lake Elsinore: 105
  • Murrieta: 105
  • Riverside: 104
  • Pasadena: 102
  • Ontario: 102
  • Burbank: 100
  • Los Angeles: 100
  • Santa Barbara: 97
  • Anaheim: 94
  • Escondido: 93
  • Bakersfield: 92
  • Irvine: 91
  • Hawthorne: 90
  • Long Beach: 89

Fire danger

The winds are causing red flag conditions in southern Santa Barbara County, with gusts of 40 to 50 mph. And the low humidity, high heat and unseasonably dry fuels are creating an elevated fire risk, the weather service said.

Critically low moisture levels may have contributed to the eruption of the 400-acre Flats fire in the Santa Rosa Mountains on Sunday morning. The fire, which burned at least two homes, continues to threaten several mountain communities southwest of Palm Desert in Riverside County.

One firefighter was injured in the blaze, and officials are concerned the regional heat wave will complicate the fight to extinguish it.

Tips

To stay cool in the coming days, officials recommend the following:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Stay in air-conditioned rooms or shade as much as possible
  • Do not leave children or pets unattended in vehicles

Among other tips from the National Weather Service:

  • Check in with older relatives and neighbors.
  • Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Reschedule strenuous activities to cooler hours in the morning and evening.

Some general times from county health officials:

  • Avoid the sun and stay in a cooled indoor place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning or can’t afford to run it, take a cool shower twice a day and go to a cooling center or other air-conditioned location. Even a shaded yard or park is better than staying inside.
  • Stay extra hydrated. During a heat wave, that means drinking two to four glasses of water every hour.
  • Avoid alcohol, reduce physical activity and don’t exercise outdoors during the hottest hours of the day. If you must work outside, make sure to drink juice or sports drinks to replenish the salts and minerals removed from your body when you sweat.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a hat if you go outdoors.
  • Check on your neighbors, friends and relatives, particularly if they are elderly or don’t have air conditioning.

California has entered another drought. But depending on who you ask, the last one may have never really ended.

Resources

Many libraries, senior centers and community spaces around Los Angeles County are offering residents a free respite from the heat. Helen Chavez, associate director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management, recommended that people find a cooling center near them and call to ensure the hours posted online are correct.

Most Los Angeles public pools are also opening just in time for the heat wave, with availability from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks announced.

Beginning next week, pool hours will change, with morning hours on weekdays. A complete list of pools, their addresses and hours can be found at the Department of Recreation and Parks website.


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