Scorching Southern California heat wave expected to peak Tuesday

This heat wave is going to get worse. (June 19, 2017)


Record-breaking temperatures that stoked a wildfire near Castaic Lake and other Southern California locations continued to rise Monday and will peak Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

In Lancaster, a 56-year-old record was broken Monday when temperatures climbed to 110 degrees.

The heat is expected to climb even higher on Tuesday, reaching up to 110 degrees, according to meteorologist Tom Fisher. Inland areas from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo counties were expected to see temperatures between 100 and 110 degrees, weather officials said.


To help residents cope with the hot spell, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that more than a dozen “cooling centers” will be open until 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.

LOS ANGELES, CA. -- Friday, June 16, 2017: Luigi, a Pitbull cools down at Genesee Avenue Park in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, June 16, 2017. (Christian K. Lee/ Los Angeles Times)
(Christian K. Lee / Los Angeles Times)

“Everyone in Los Angeles should have a place to go for relief from these scorching temperatures — and that can be especially critical for the youngest among us and older Angelenos without air-conditioning,” he said.

The scorching weather is part of a system commonly referred to as the “Four Corners High,” a high-pressure system that settles over the desert Southwest near the Four Corners and spreads smothering heat from Northern California to Nevada and as far east as central Texas, Fisher said. The Four Corners is the area where Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado meet.

Fortunately for some, an onshore breeze is keeping temperatures relatively cooler along the California coast. Temperatures will hover in the 80s downtown and will be even cooler the closer you are to the beach, Fisher said. Temperatures in the high desert are about 15 degrees above average, he said, with the heat wave expected to cool a few degrees each day starting Wednesday.

That’s not the case in Sacramento Valley. The Weather Service estimates that triple digits there could last for a nine-day stretch, ending Saturday. The record for consecutive days of triple-digit heat there is 11, set in 2006, the weather service said.


In the meantime, the heat is drying out grass and brush that sprouted up and grew amid the wettest winter in years in California.

Near Big Bear, firefighters battled an 850-acre wildfire that erupted Monday afternoon and swiftly burned through grass and chaparral. As of Monday night, no evacuations were ordered, but campgrounds in the area were closed.

Over the weekend, Los Angeles County firefighters battled a fast-growing brush fire near Castaic Lake.

Two small structures were destroyed and about 800 acres have burned, authorities said. The so-called Lake Fire was 78% contained Monday night. Crews spent the day mopping up hot spots and building containment lines to keep the fire from spreading, and the fire is not expected to grow further.

In Riverside County over the weekend, firefighters tackled a 10-acre brush fire near Beaumont, a 40-acre fire near Moreno Valley and a 20-acre blaze just north of Lake Elsinore.

In San Bernardino County, crews reported 70% containment on the Zermatt fire near Wrightwood, which consumed 11 acres.

Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.


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9:45 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details on the weather forecast.

5:00 p.m.: This article was updated with details on L.A. expanding the hours for cooling centers.

This article was originally published at 8:50 a.m.