The first day of a heat wave produced extreme temperatures Friday across Southern California, but forecasters say the real broiling will come this weekend.
Heat records in Palmdale and Lancaster, which stand at 113 and 114 degrees, respectively, could be broken, National Weather Service specialist Stuart Seto said.
The last significant heat wave to hit Southern California was five years ago, Seto said. The 2009 heat wave baked the region for about two weeks.
In Los Angeles, the hot weather is a particular concern to firefighters because it comes in a year of record dry conditions that have already sparked several brush fires across the region. Fireworks went on sale in some areas Friday, adding another fire danger.
Many weather experts will keep a special eye on Death Valley, where the hottest temperature in the world — 134 degrees — was recorded nearly 100 years ago, on July 10, 1913.
“It’s very warm, and people are coming here to see what it feels like,” said Ann Wegner, executive administrative assistant at Furnace Creek Resort. “I don’t think anybody can really be prepared.”
Temperatures in Death Valley are expected to reach 129 degrees Sunday and Monday, breaking the record for the hottest June temperature: 128 degrees, set June 29, 1994, said Chris Stachelski, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Las Vegas.
An excessive heat warning is in place for the park. People going to or through Death Valley should travel during the coolest parts of the day and have water and food with them in case of a breakdown. Travelers should be prepared in the event something happens that strands them, Stachelski said.
“If you’re not used to that kind of heat ... you can succumb to the elements,” he said.
Several agencies in Los Angeles County have opened cooling centers — air-conditioned public facilities that can be used to escape the heat. Information about them is available by dialing 211, the county” information line.