A French Bulldog. Photo from Pixabay.
This French Bulldog is a real hot dog. Photo from Pixabay.

A heat wave bringing “dangerously hot conditions” settled over the Southland Friday and will linger into at least the middle of next week, raising the risks of heat-related illnesses and wildfires.

Officials warned of heat-related illnesses, the dangers of pets or children being left in locked vehicles for even a few minutes, elevated fire possibilities, health impacts on seniors and other life-threatening issues.

A heat advisory will be in force until 9 p.m. Sunday in L.A. County’s coastal zone — beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, downtown L.A. and the Hollywood Hills.

A more serious excessive heat warning will be in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, and the Los Angeles and Santa Monica mountains. The warning was originally expected to expire on Monday night, but the National Weather Service extended it Friday afternoon.

In the Antelope Valley, the excessive heat warning that had been set to last until Tuesday night was extended until 9 p.m. Thursday.

The warning will be in effect for the bulk of Orange County until 9 p.m. Monday.

“Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities,” according to a National Weather Service statement.

“Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside,” NWS forecasters warned. “When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible.”

The NWS noted that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments for people performing outdoor work.

“With the cloud mass clearing out on Friday, dangerously hot conditions are forecast to develop. Temperature well above normal for this time of year will occur, with several sites likely setting or tying record high temperatures for Friday,” the NWS said. “Some sites in the hottest valley locations and across interior valleys could see temperature sky rocket close to 110 degrees.”

The NWS also warned of elevated critical fire-weather between Friday and Monday, in part because of very dry vegetation, providing fuel for wildfires. Another factor is the fact that surface winds coming from the north will be weak, keeping the ground warm. But no red flag warnings have been issued.

Los Angeles city and county opened cooling centers Friday to give residents a place to escape the heat. The city of L.A’s Department of Recreation and Parks and the county’s Emergency Operations Center said cooling centers will be activated at specified facilities.

Due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, capacity is limited and people are should call ahead for the city’s cooling centers to check space availability, according to the city Department of Recreation and Parks. The centers will follow the county’s Department of Public Health social distancing guidelines during hours of operation. Information on the county’s cooling centers as well as heat-related illnesses and prevention is at publichealth.lacounty.gov.

A statewide Flex Alert will be in effect Friday afternoon, calling for residents to turn off their lights and help conserve electricity.

Power grid operators are predicting increased demand for electricity, according to the California Independent System Operator, which issued the Flex Alert to call for voluntary electricity conservation. Residents and businesses are being asked to reduce their energy consumption, especially between the hours of 3 and 10 p.m.

“California will be experiencing near-record or record-breaking heat, up to 10-20 degrees above normal in some areas,” said the California ISO. “Prolonged heat over several consecutive days is expected to drive electricity demand higher, as nighttime temperatures are also forecast to be above average”

Energy conservation tips from ISO include turning off unnecessary lights; using major appliances before 3 p.m. and after 10 p.m.; setting air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher; using fans; and keeping drapes drawn.

Forecasters warned of “dangerously hot conditions” across most of the region, with temperatures ranging from 102 to 110 in most valley areas, 97 to 109 in the mountains and up to 111 in the Antelope Valley.

The coastal region, although under a less-severe heat advisory, can still expect temperatures between 90 and 100 inland, with slightly cooler weather at the beaches.

Overnight lows aren’t expected to offer significant relief, with temperatures likely to linger in the 70s.

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