100-degree temps on tap as heat wave comes to SoCal
The punishing heat wave in Southern California will deliver triple-digit temperatures, elevate fire danger and increase the chance of heat-related illnesses Thursday and Friday, officials said.
A heat advisory in the Los Angeles area is in effect until 6 p.m. Friday for the coastal plains and valleys, the Santa Clarita Valley and the Santa Monica Mountains. Temperatures could soar at least 15 to 20 degrees above normal, reaching 100 degrees or higher in some areas.
Burbank, for example, is expected to climb to 100 degrees Thursday and Friday, according to Kristen Stewart, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. A normal high temperature for the area this week would be about 72 degrees.
Stewart said several temperature records may be broken Thursday and Friday in areas such as Long Beach, Burbank, downtown Los Angeles and LAX.
Anaheim on Wednesday broke its temperature record for the day at 96 degrees — 5 degrees higher than the previous April 6 record set in 2005, the weather service said.
A heat advisory is also in effect until 6 p.m. Friday across large swaths of San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties, where similar conditions are expected.
Officials said heat-related illnesses are possible among the elderly, infants, outdoor workers and the homeless population, as well as those participating in outdoor activities. Residents should take extra precautions, seek shade and air conditioning and stay hydrated. Children and pets should never be left in cars.
Cooling centers and other public facilities are available, city and county officials said.
A “high-pressure system anchoring itself to the West Coast” is driving the heat wave, , Stewart said.
A wind advisory in the Ventura and Los Angeles county mountains will remain in effect until 3 p.m. Thursday, with gusts of up to 50 mph possible — although winds in some areas have been weaker than expected, officials said.
Though recent rains increased fuel moistures slightly, caution is still warranted because extreme heat and strong winds can be a recipe for rapid fire spread should ignition occur, Stewart said.
“Very, very dry” humidity levels in the single digits and teens are expected, she added.
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Compounding those concerns is the record dryness already plaguing the state.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor update, released Thursday, showed more than 40% of the state under extreme drought conditions — up from about 16% only three months ago. Nearly all of the state is classified under extreme or severe drought.
Statewide snowpack on Thursday was an abysmal 27% of normal for the date, according to state data. Despite the brief smattering of winter storms, California recorded its driest January through March stretch, state officials said last week.
The months are typically the heart of California’s rainy season, and water regulators are increasingly concerned about dwindling supplies and backsliding conservation efforts. Urban water usage in the state decreased by just half a percent in February compared with the same month in 2020.
Fortunately, Stewart said, the heat wave should dissipate almost as quickly as it moved in, with temperatures expected to cool 10 to 20 degrees beginning Saturday.
Downtown Los Angeles — expected to soar to 98 degrees Thursday and Friday — should return to a balmy 76 by Sunday afternoon.
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