Dangerous triple-digit temperatures broil Southern California’s inland areas this weekend

A man, in a shoulder-and-head horizontal frame, wears a straw hat and cools off by pouring cold water over on his head
Sergio Lopez, working around his mobile home under blazing sun Tuesday, cools off by pouring cold water over on his head at Oasis Mobile Home Park in Thermal, Calif.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Share via

Dangerously hot temperatures are broiling California this weekend as a “heat dome” continues to bake the American West, increasing the risk of heat-related health issues and wildfires.

On Saturday most of the state will be under an excessive heat warning or heat advisory, which will continue in many regions through next week. In Southern California, temperatures Saturday are expected to reach 106 and 108 degrees in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, respectively, while the Antelope Valley could see a high of 115.

Blistering triple-digit temperatures are forecast across the state. In Death Valley, temperatures are expected to hit nearly 130 degrees Saturday, approaching some of the Badwater Basin’s most extreme records, forecasters said. Palm Springs is expected to reach 120, Redding could rise to 113 and Fresno in California’s Central Valley should peak at 109.


“It’s going to get just very, very hot,” said Elizabeth Adams, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s San Diego office. She said multiple areas in Southern California, especially in the Coachella Valley, Inland Empire and San Diego County deserts, won’t see much cooling even in the evenings, with some overnight temperatures remaining in the 80s and 90s.

“That’s going to prevent any relief from that heat, so it’s going to exacerbate how hot it feels out,” Adams said.

California’s first heat wave of the year could last into next week. Here are some tips on how to stay safe and cool during hot weather.

June 30, 2023

That kind of extreme heat — which is also projected in areas north through the upper Sacramento Valley — is a concern for heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion, and has become increasingly deadly in recent years.

“All of us are at risk — some of us are at higher risk,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health and the state public health officer, said Friday. While he said certain vulnerable groups — including the very old, very young, chronically ill or those without access to air conditioning — are most at risk for these heat-related health issues, he noted that last year’s Labor Day heat wave led to more excess deaths among the working-age population.

“It’s important to recognize it’s not just the group you would think about,” Aragón said. He encouraged Californians to take extra steps to stay safe over the next few days, including making a plan to stay cool, checking on neighbors and loved ones, finding cool places and recognizing the symptoms of heat-related illnesses. The state recently launched a new “heat ready” campaign, which provides resources to respond to extreme heat, including a list of cooling centers by location.

In Sacramento, officials took the precautionary step of suspending horse racing at the California State Fair’s opening weekend, though other activities will continue.


“Our decision to suspend horse racing activities was guided by our unwavering commitment to animal safety,” said Tom Martinez, CEO of Cal Expo and State Fair. “With the current heat wave, their safety and well-being come first.”

The extreme temperatures also have fire officials worried about the increased risk of wildfires. The danger is compounded by exceptionally lush vegetation that covers the state as a result of this winter’s heavy rains.

“With these very hot temps, generally, we’re going to see lower dew points, which can lead to fire concerns,” Adams said. She said there isn’t an expectation for much wind, which can increase the potential for fires, but “with it being so hot and dry, that risk is always going to be there.”

A days-long heat wave is expected to continue across Southern California through the weekend, bringing high temperatures into the triple digits and elevating wildfire danger.

July 12, 2023

A ridge of high pressure centered over the Western U.S. is causing the hot weather, which began Wednesday in Southern California. The particularly stagnant warm air mass is now centered over California, Adams said, trapping heat near the surface — known as a “heat dome.”

“It’s leading to very sunny skies and allowing the temps to really skyrocket,” Adams said.

It’s unclear exactly how long the extreme temperatures will last, but the above-average heat is expected to remain across the region through at least early next week, said Mike Wofford, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.


“We’re looking at temperatures 10 degrees above normal [in some inland areas],” Wofford said. “Based on our projections it will go on for the next 10 days or so.”

Southern Californians looking to beat the heat are expected to flock to area beaches, where temperatures along the coast will range from mid-70s to low 80s on Saturday, forecasters said. Downtown Los Angeles is expected to see highs in the mid-80s, forecasters said.

The Quick Reaction Force from the Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange county fire departments will be available 24 hours a day all year long.

July 13, 2023

Meanwhile, as temperatures rise across the region, air quality is expected to drop, with a smog/ozone advisory already in effect through Tuesday for much of inland Southern California and the Coachella Valley, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Some of the worst air quality is expected in the Inland Empire. Ozone levels are expected to reach very unhealthy levels in the Lake Arrowhead area and the San Bernardino Valley, officials said.

Although a major heat wave last summer almost pushed the state’s power grid to the brink, officials for the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s power grid, said that isn’t expected to be an issue over the next few days.

“We’re closely monitoring the hot weather through the weekend,” grid officials said in a statement Thursday. “No energy supply shortages are anticipated and no Flex Alerts or emergency declarations are planned at this time.”