A heat wave will grip the Inland Empire later this week, pushing the mercury well into the triple digits in Riverside County, possibly fueling isolated thunderstorms in some locations, forecasters said Monday.

According to the National Weather Service, an Excessive Heat Watch will be in effect Friday and Saturday, when a ridge of high pressure will envelope the region, feeding offshore flows that send temperatures soaring.

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

NWS meteorologists said temps will likely be 20 degrees above normal for both days, though Friday is expected to be hotter.

The forecast high for Riverside on Friday is 112 degrees. In Palm Springs, it’s predicted to hit 120 degrees, and in Temecula, 105 degrees.

“Saturday, the flow around the upper high will draw a moderate plume of tropical mid-level moisture into the southwest, with isolated thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday over the mountains,” according to an NWS statement. “There is a small chance these storms could slide off into the lower deserts.”

The high will lose energy Saturday night, and temperatures will begin to moderate on Sunday, according to the Weather Service.

Conditions preceding the heat wave should be seasonable, forecasters said, with high temperatures in the Riverside metropolitan area hovering around 90 degrees Tuesday through Thursday, and highs in the Coachella Valley staying at or near 100 degrees until Thursday.

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