Updated 10:45 a.m. Sept. 14, 2014
Southland temperatures began to skyrocket early Sunday as a heat wave continued to intensify, and as cooling centers were opened for people without air conditioning.
By 9 a.m., it was already 96 degrees in Whittier Hills, one of several interior foothill and valley automated weather stations where the heat index was expected to hit 110 Sunday.
The National Weather Service reported readings of 91 at Whiteman Airport in Pacoima, 90 at the Getty Center in Brentwood and 86 in Pomona at 9 a.m. Sunday.
And while actual temperatures were expected to top 105 at valley and foothill locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties, the scant amount of moisture in the air would being the heat index to 110 or higher. The NWS defines the heat index as the apparent effect of heat plus humidity.
Red Flag Warnings were extended due to the heat and dry air through 6 a.m. Monday for the mountains and foothills of Los Angeles County, where “plume-driven” fires such as the 1,600-acre fire in Orange County were possible if dry brush or trees ignite, the NWS said..
The absence of winds, however, meant the cities of Los Angeles and Pasadena did not have to institute Red Flag parking restrictions in their hilly areas, firefighters said.
Dozens of libraries, senior centers and other government buildings were made available as cooling centers Sunday, with nearly every local government pointing to Internet web pages or special phone lines to help find them. In the city of Los Angeles, people were directed to call 311, while people in many other areas were told to call 211.
Adding to discomfort was heavy smoke in eastern Los Angeles County from the Silverado Fire. Particulate levels were in the moderate level along the coast, while ozone levels caused smog experts to warn people with sensitive medical conditions to stay indoors in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, as well as the Inland Empire.
The heaviest smog concentrations were near the Silverado Fire in Orange County and near Lake Elsinore, as well as in the San Bernardino Mountains near Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake.
The “dangerously hot weather” was expected through at least Tuesday, the NWS said.
“A strong ridge of high pressure aloft will maintain very hot weather and near-record temperatures through Tuesday over much of the area,” the NWS stated.
Temperatures were expected to top out at between 98 and 105 in the valleys, mountains and Antelope Valley, mid 90s on the coastal plain that includes downtown Los Angeles and nearly all of Orange County, and up to 85 at the beaches.
The ocean was relatively hot, with the surf at Zuma Beach checking in at a season-high 70 Sunday.
— City News Service