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Blistering heat blankets Southern California as Flex Alert issued for Thursday afternoon

A man in red swim trunks sits on the rail of a lifeguard station surrounded myriad beachgoers and their umbrellas.
A lifeguard keeps watch on the crowd at Huntington Beach on Tuesday.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California saw a third day of blistering heat Wednesday, but the high temperatures are expected to taper off slightly by the weekend.

Inland and desert regions continued to bake. Palmdale, Lancaster and Sandberg broke records set in 1961 at 112, 113 and 101 degrees. Woodland Hills saw a high of 107, down slightly from Tuesday.

Coastal California was beginning to see a break. And beaches also recorded slightly cooler temperatures of 75 degrees in Malibu, 74 in Long Beach and 84 in Santa Barbara, according to Lisa Phillips, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“It’s gradually decreasing into the weekend,” she said of the heat.

An excessive-heat warning is in effect through 9 p.m. Saturday in the mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, excluding the Santa Monica range.

The California Independent System Operator, which monitors power lines across the state, initially said Wednesday that the grid was stable and that the state would have enough electricity to meet demand. Just hours later, however, the agency issued a Flex Alert for Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. to encourage reduced energy usage because of the strain on the state’s grid.

Residents are advised to avoid lowering the thermostat during those hours and to complete tasks involving high amounts of energy beforehand, such as using major appliances and charging devices and electric cars.

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New California guidelines say that fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks in most public settings.

Many libraries, senior centers and community spaces around Los Angeles County are open and available to serve as a cool space for residents to escape 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 that the hours posted online are correct.

Several places across the Southland reached daily record highs Tuesday, including Anaheim at 96 degrees, Palm Springs at 120, Borrego Springs at 117, San Jacinto at 107, Big Bear at 89 and Palmdale at 107.


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