Triple-digit temperatures are expected in most parts of Riverside County Thursday, ushering in a heat wave that will increase the risk of wildfires and could bring record high temperatures throughout the region, according to the National Weather Service.

A strong, high-pressure system will build over California on Friday and give rise to sweltering conditions over Labor Day weekend, forecasters said. Humidity will drop to 10-15 percent on Saturday and wind gusts out of the east are expected to reach 20-30 mph, setting the stage for near critical fire weather conditions in the inland valleys throughout Southern California until Tuesday.

The NWS issued an excessive heat warning throughout Riverside County that will take effect at 10 a.m. Friday and last through 8 p.m. Monday.

Highs in the Coachella Valley could reach 120 on Saturday and Sunday, while the mercury in the Riverside metropolitan area is expected to soar to 115 in some communities both of those days, forecasters said.

The NWS urged residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors. Also, children, seniors and pets should be never be left unattended in a vehicle, with car interiors able to “reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes,” according to the NWS.

High temperatures Thursday are forecast to reach 110 in the Coachella Valley, 109 in the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, 100 in Hemet, 97 in Riverside and Lake Elsinore, 92 in Temecula and 88 in Idyllwild.

Riverside County has 35 cooling centers available countywide with mandatory mask wearing and social distancing protocols in place.

A full list of the cooling center locations can be found at: www.capriverside.org/Cool-Centers.

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