dog drinking water
Watch out for pets, kids and the elderly as Southern California bakes in a dangerous heat wave. Photo via Pixabay

A fearsome heat wave is heading to the Southland for Labor Day weekend, with temperatures expected to climb as high as 112 degrees in parts of Los Angeles County.

The National Weather Service warned that dangerous heat and fire conditions would exist nearly everywhere in the county all weekend, and issued an excessive heat watch from Friday morning through Monday evening.

And just in time for outdoor intense heat, Palm Springs officials announced Tuesday that the city’s restaurant outdoor dining program will begin Friday. The mercury is expected to top out every day of the three-day weekend at 117.

The “al fresco” dining program is a response to COVID-19 emergency orders prohibiting restaurants from offering indoor dining. Palm Canyon Drive between Baristo Road and Tahquitz Canyon Way will be shut down to vehicle traffic, allowing some restaurants to shift operations onto the street.

Street closures will begin Thursday, with permitted businesses being able to start offering outdoor dining the following day.

Restaurants outside the closure area will also have the option to expand outdoor dining onto sidewalks.

“We recognize that our local restaurants have struggled tremendously since the spread of COVID-19 effectively changed how we all operate,” Councilman Dennis Woods said after the Palm Springs City Council unanimously approved the pilot program last month.

Throughout Southern California, Saturday and Sunday are shaping up to be the hottest days. While not quite Palm Springs, highs of at least 111 degrees are forecast for Santa Clarita, Lancaster and Woodland Hills, while Calabasas in expected to hit 112 on Saturday. North Hollywood is expected to hit 107 on Saturday and 106 on Sunday, Van Nuys 109 and 108, and Chatsworth 109 and 110.

The mercury will even crack triple digits in downtown Los Angeles, according to the NWS, which calls for highs of 103 on Saturday and 102 on Sunday.

Orange County won’t escape the heat wave either, with Anaheim expected to see highs of 104 on Saturday and 103 on Sunday, Fullerton hitting 106 and 105, and Irvine hitting 100 degrees both days.

Temperatures will rise gradually through this week, hitting around 80 in downtown L.A. on Wednesday, 85 on Thursday and 90 on Friday, the weather service said. Monday will see a slight cooling of around 5-7 degrees from the weekend highs, and Tuesday should see temperatures drop a little more, to the low 90s downtown and upper 90s in the valleys.

Nighttime temperatures will also be above normal over the weekend, mostly in the mid-70s.

The heat wave is expected to affect the entire West Coast.

Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, said many locations in California, including some in Southern California, “stand a good chance of breaking all-time monthly temperature records for September.”

Swain added that the heat wave “will probably be a bit more tolerable than during the last event given lateness of season, lower sun angle, and better overnight temperature recoveries. This will also be a `dry heat,’ unlike the unbearably humid one we experienced in mid-August.”

Officials urged the public to take precautions to avoid heat-related illness, especially older adults, young children, outdoor workers, athletes, and people with a chronic medical condition who are especially sensitive to negative health impacts from extreme heat.

The Los Angeles County Health Department offers the following recommendations:

— Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

— If you must go out, plan your day to avoid going out during the hottest hours, and wear sunscreen, lightweight, light-colored clothes, and bring a hat or umbrella with you.

— Avoid strenuous workouts wearing face coverings or masks not intended for athletic purposes; this means avoiding contact with others while you work out.

— Never leave children or pets in cars and call 911 if you see a child or pet in a car alone.

— Visit your power company’s website or contact them by phone to determine if you are scheduled for a rolling power outage.

Beginning Friday, Glendale will open cooling centers at following locations:

— Griffith Manor Park, 1551 Flower St, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Friday and Tuesday)

— Pacific Community Center, 501 S. Pacific Ave., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday-Monday)

Information about all cooling centers in L.A. County can be found at ready.lacounty.gov/heat/.

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