The Southland’s first heat wave of summer 2018 went into a second day Friday amid warnings of wildfires and serious heat-related illnesses resulting from triple-digit temperatures in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
A red flag warning signifying a high risk of wildfire will be in effect Friday in several areas of the Southland.
“The peak of the heat wave will be today into Saturday when widespread record breaking triple digit heat is expected,” according to the National Weather Service. “The extreme record-breaking heat in combination with single digit humidities and gusty north winds will continue to bring very critical fire weather conditions across the mountains, Santa Barbara south coast, Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley and Santa Monica mountains.”
Red flag warnings will be in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday in the Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest, Santa Clarita Valley, Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area and the San Fernando Valley. Winds across the affected areas were expected to blow between 15 to 30 mph, with gusts in some areas reaching 50 mph, combined with single-digit humidity levels and triple-digit temperatures, forecasters said.
“In addition, the extreme heat will create an unstable air mass that will be capable of producing very large vertical plume growth with any new fire ignitions, especially in the mountains and foothills,” according to the NWS.
Also in effect is an excessive heat warning everywhere in L.A. County, including the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains; the San Fernando, San Gabriel, Santa Clarita, Pomona and Antelope valleys; Catalina, L.A. County beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, the downtown area and the Hollywood Hills. The warning will remain in effect until 9 p.m. Saturday. Highs expected in those areas include the 80s to mid 90s along the coast; the mid 90s to 105 in interior coastal areas; 95 to 107 in the mountains; and 105 to 112 in the valleys.
The NWS attributed the heat wave to a strong upper level high pressure system, causing heat to build significantly across the region and issued a set of instructions to enable residents to cope with the conditions:
— Be prepared for dangerous cross winds and sudden reductions in visibility due to areas of blowing dust and sand.
— Never, ever, leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a sort period of time.
— Reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
— Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing and drink plenty of water.
Downtown Los Angeles broke the heat record for a July 6 by reaching 95 degrees — at 10:15 a.m. — breaking the 1992 record of 94 degrees. Heat records also fell in areas including Van Nuys, Burbank and Woodland Hills.
Given the high temperatures, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power urged customers to save energy where possible, particularly in the afternoon and early evening when power use is at its highest.
To help conserve energy, DWP recommended:
— adjust air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees to reduce energy usage during the hottest hours of the day when A/C systems have to work hardest to cool;
— reduce power use during the afternoon/early evening hours from 2 to 9 p.m., when energy use is highest;
— visit the local library, recreation center, mall, movie theaters or any other air conditioned gathering place to give your air conditioner a rest;
— limit use of major appliances during peak hours of the day;
— use washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and other heavy appliances during the early morning hours or during evening hours;
— close window curtains, shades or blinds during the heat of the day to reduce the extra heat from direct sunlight through windows;
— ventilate homes in the early morning and evening by opening windows and doors to clear out the heat and allow cooler air to circulate;
— turn off lights and other electrical equipment when they are not in use; and
— unplug “energy vampires” like cell phone chargers, DVD players, microwave ovens and other appliances that use energy even when not in use.
Government agencies, meanwhile, reminded the public about the availability of cooling centers across the Southland for people who need a break from high temperatures.
Los Angeles city officials noted that facilities such as recreation centers, senior centers and museums are available for people hoping to cool off. City libraries are also available as cooling centers during their normal operating hours. The city’s 32 Summer Night Lights locations will be open until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Other cities have also announced the availability of cooling centers. Malibu officials said the Michael Landon Center at Malibu Bluffs Park, 24250 Pacific Coast Highway, will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday as a cooling center.
The Duarte Senior Center at 1610 Huntington Drive will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday for people looking to cool down. Carson will have about a dozen park locations available during afternoon hours through Sunday as cooling centers.
Authorities also encouraged residents to check regularly on neighbors who might be vulnerable to heat illness, including seniors who live alone, people with heart or lung disease and young children. Officials also strongly reminded residents to never leave children or pets unattended inside closed vehicles.
Also in effect was a high surf advisory expiring at 8 Friday night in L.A. and 9 p.m. in Orange County. It stems from a large southerly swell generated by Hurricane Fabio and will cause some dangerous conditions for swimmers and surfers, according to the NWS.
Surf of 4-7 feet with sets of nine feet is expected in L.A. County, 5-8 feet with occasional sets of 10-12 feet in Orange County.
“There is an increased risk for ocean drowning,” warned an NWS statement. “Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches and rocks, and capsize small boats near shore. Pooling of sea water is possible around high tide at beach and harbor areas that is uncommon with normal tidal ranges. No significant damage is expected.