A heat wave is heading toward Southern California, expected to send temperatures soaring into the triple digits by Monday, according to forecasters.

According to the National Weather Service, an Excessive Heat Warning will be in effect from 8 a.m. Monday through 10 p.m. Thursday, when a strong high pressure system is expected to push temperatures well above average and could produce some daily high temperature records.

The warning will be in effect in the Coachella Valley, San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, Riverside County Mountains and valleys, the Inland Empire, San Bernardino Mountains and valleys, Orange County Inland Areas and the Apple and Lucerne valleys.

NWS meteorologists said temperatures will be close to average Sunday, then rise into triple digits. The highest temperatures are expected on Tuesday.

The forecast high for Riverside on Monday is 103 degrees. In Palm Springs, the mercury is predicted to rise as high as 113 degrees, and approach 100 in Temecula.

Forecasters said the heat wave doesn’t look like it will be as extreme as the one that followed July 4, but some areas west of the mountains could see temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above average.

An Excessive Heat Watch is issued when high temperatures combine with elevated humidity levels to increase the risk of heat exposure-related illnesses.

High temperatures this month have played a role in the deaths of four people, according to county public health officials. Heat was a factor in the deaths of an 86-year-old woman and 87-year-old man found together July 8 in a Hemet residence, a 91-year-old Bermuda Dunes man found in a residence on July 16, and a 37-year-old man found July 7 in a Hemet parking lot.

Though the three elderly victims had underlying health issues that made them more susceptible to the heat, health officials said heat played a role in all four deaths.

“The elderly and the very young are particularly vulnerable to heat, and those with medical issues even more so,” Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said. “If they’re in your family or they’re your neighbors, check in on them and make sure they’re doing ok. Even short periods of time in high temperatures can kill.”

The NWS urged residents to “drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the midday sun and in air-conditioning if possible, and check on relatives and neighbors.”

Also, never leave a child, a senior or a pet in a car parked in the heat, even with windows cracked open, because the temperature can soon become deadly.

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