Crissie Sumerlin, a visitor from Baltimore, takes in the view and the cool breeze at Santa Monica Pier as a heat wave continues to bake Southern California.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Jasmine Ejan cools off with a cone of chocolate ice cream on a warm afternoon in Venice Beach.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
A vendor shelters from the sun while selling umbrellas, beach towels and boogie boards along the boardwalk near the Santa Monica Pier on a warm Southern California afternoon.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Mariachi player Natolio Nuñez, who has been playing trumpet for 40 years, practices in the shade while silhouetted against a mural amid a heat wave where temperature reached 93 degrees at Mariachi Plaza de Los Angeles in Boyle Heights.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Rain falls behind power lines near Adelanto at the end of a scorching hot day.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Cumulus clouds frame Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles as scorching heat continues across the Southland.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Isaac Padron, 24, of Canoga Park, cools off, while taking a break from skateboarding at Lanark Park.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Lilly Santiago, 5, left, cools off with her mother Lupita, 56, after playing basketball at Lanark Park on Thursday.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Mariachi player Natolio Nuñez, who has been playing trumpet for 40 years, practices in the shade in Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Sophia Madrigal, 5, cools off at the Sylmar Recreation Center.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Crystalie Merino, 23, does her cardio workout in triple-digit heat in Warner Park in Woodland Hills.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Josh Navarro and niece Frankie, 2, enjoy Lyle Creek in San Bernardino.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Keeping cool in the Grand Park fountain in downtown Los Angeles.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Kenia Rivera, 26, sits in the shade in Lyle Creek in San Bernardino with Alex Navarro, left, and Jacob Navarro.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Reginaldo Ramirez gulps cold water after working in San Bernardino, which hit 111 degrees on Wednesday.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Workers toil in 111-degree temperatures in San Bernardino.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
A windsurfer at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Edgar Eduardo Herrera drinks from a fountain at Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where the mercury reached into the high 90s.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
A woman shelters in the shade of the entrance to the California Science Center in Exposition Park.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Edwin Cruz of Los Angeles sells cotton candy and toys to families at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte on Sunday.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Kids play in the water at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area. Forecasters said a record-breaking heat wave will linger in Southern California until at least Thursday.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Kids play in the water at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte on a hot Sunday.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Gilman Orozco and his son Ian Orozco, 2½, both of Los Angeles cool down in a hammock at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas on Sunday.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
To cool off, Jeffery Sofia Puga, 3, left, with her father Carlos Puga, 23, both of Torrance, eat ice cream and soak in the lake at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Victor Dudchenko tosses his friend’s daughter Julia Bogachuk in the air while they play in the lake at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Visitors cool down in the lake at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas on Sunday.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Luis Alvarez swings in a hammock with his 11-month-old son, Adrian Alvarez of Los Angeles, in the shade at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Kids fish and play in the water at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A person is silhouetted while relaxing in a tent by the water at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Patricia Morataya kept busy Wednesday in Woodland Hills, where temperatures are known to break records.
Throughout the day, amid a scorching heat wave that is setting records from Redding to Lake Elsinore, people passing by gravitated to her fruit cart at the corner of Topanga Canyon and Ventura boulevards.
As a breeze blew nothing but hot vapor into the air, gardeners, bus riders and pedestrians stopped by to seek relief in big cups stuffed with chilled watermelon, mango and cucumber.
“This heat doesn’t forgive anyone,” one gardener told Morataya as he waited his turn.
“No, it doesn’t,” said Morataya, who lives in Van Nuys. “I’m going to go from dark to dark and burned after this week.”
And according to the National Weather Service, there’s no relief in sight.
A high-pressure system that smothered the West Coast over the weekend will stay in place through at least Monday, keeping temperatures up to 25 degrees above average in some communities. Officials have issued an excessive heat advisory in southwest California through Friday and a heat advisory for Northern California through the weekend.
“It’s basically everything west of the Rockies,” said Charles Bell, a National Weather Service meteorologist in the Bay Area. “We could see some places reach all-time record temperatures.”
On Wednesday, forecasters expected Woodland Hills’ heat record for the date of 112 to be matched or broken, while Pomona and Palmdale could approach their records for the date of 109 and 108 degrees, respectively. Firefighters battling a blaze hundreds of miles north near Oroville contended with similar temperatures while fighting flames that have destroyed 10 homes and threatened many more.
“It’s going to be a long fight because of the weather conditions,” said Mary Ann Aldrich, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in Butte County.
In Orange County, parents of preschool-age children flocked to a tiny indoor playground at the Shops at Mission Viejo.
“What choice do we have — whoever thought it would be dangerous to be at a park right now?” said Julie Chan, with 3-year-old Ben in tow. “I just read all the warnings about heat stroke and dehydration, and it sounds like we’re living in the desert, not beautiful Southern California where everyone goes to visit the beaches. This is actually when you avoid the beaches, because how long would it take to find parking?”
While her son sipped milk and munched on sliced apples, Chan said her family’s plans for a Labor Day barbecue are canceled. “Nothing outdoors,” she said. “I was planning to go to the store and stock up, but I’m throwing out the list. We’re watching Netflix instead.”
In South L.A., animal cruelty officers were investigating a possible case of neglect after a dog was tied up outside in the heat Wednesday afternoon and died.
Some tourists in downtown Los Angeles were caught off guard by the blazing heat and turned to the large fountain and splash pad in Grand Park for relief.
“It’s hot in Brazil, but not this hot,” said Isabella Antoniali, 26, after taking a barefoot stroll through the fountain with Mario Graciotti, also 26.
They came from Pasadena on the Metro Gold Line to escape the scorching 101-degree heat there. The splash pad was their first stop after getting off the train in Little Tokyo and before exploring the rest of downtown.
“We needed a rest,” Graciotti said. “We are struggling.”
Not everyone was miserable in the heat.
German newlyweds Marvin and Bianca May sat at a nearby table, soaking in every last bit of California sun. Wednesday was the last day of their honeymoon.
Marvin said he wasn’t looking forward to winter back in Herne, Germany, where there can be feet of snow on the ground as temperatures drop below freezing.
“We love it when it’s hot,” he said. “It’s a little over the top in L.A., but we like it.”
But when temperatures don’t significantly drop at night, as has been the case this week, problems arise, utility companies said.
In June, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in Northern California experienced several outages amid a brutal heat wave when the humidity kept temperatures oppressively hot overnight. Customers continued to use electricity, and equipment did not get to cool down. When the sun rose and the daytime heat arrived, transformers overheated.
The same thing is happening now in Southern California. Thousands of Southern California Edison and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers have experienced blackouts this week because their overworked equipment has not had a chance to properly cool at night, company officials said.
“It’s human nature. They want to conserve, but by the fourth day it’s, ‘You know, it’s just too hot. Forget it,’ ” said Edison spokesman David Song.
The demand for power caused the California Independent System Operator this week to issue its third flex alert of the year, calling for utility customers to conserve energy. The agency covers 80% of Californians and saw its highest demand of the year Monday.
In Glendale on Wednesday, construction crews forged ahead in the heat where several condos are being built near the Americana shopping center.
They carried pipes on their backs, swept debris off the floor and hammered away on top floors.
Alfred Ontiveros wiped sweat off his forehead as he poured water out of a giant hose into a gaping hole in the street at the corner of Wilson and Kenilworth avenues.
He and his crew were replacing a main pipe line.
“I gotta pay those bills,” said Ontiveros, from West Covina.
In 35 years as a construction worker, he’s seen many hot days. He doesn’t care for sunglasses and hats get in the way, so he often bears the sun’s rays head on, his skin a leathery brown.
“It’s hard,” Ontiveros said. “This ain’t something you ever get used to.”
Times staff writers Joseph Serna and Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.
3:50 p.m.: This article was updated throughout with additional details, comments and reaction to the heat.
This article was originally published at 11:20 a.m.