Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The region’s heat wave lingered into a new work week Monday, with a red flag warning denoting a risk of wildfire in effect for Los Angeles County mountain and foothill areas and officials urging residents to protect themselves from dangerously hot weather.

“A strong ridge of high pressure will maintain very hot weather and near-record temperatures through Tuesday over much of the area,” according to the National Weather Service.

According to the NWS, heat index values — how hot it actually feels — will rise to between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit from late morning through early evening today and Tuesday in the valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and in the Santa Monica mountains.

“The combination of heat and humidity will create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible, especially for the elderly and youth,” according to the NWS, which issued an excessive heat warning scheduled to be in effect until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The excessive heat warning was issued for the San Gabriel, San Fernando, and Santa Clarita valleys, but not the Antelope Valley, where it’s frequently excessively hot. A less serious heat advisory will be in force in Orange County, also until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The excessive heat warning stemmed in part from an element that was largely absent when the heat wave began Thursday — humidity. But while humidity will increase around sea level, the mountains will remain relatively dry, NWS forecasters said.

The NWS warned that the high heat, combined with low humidity levels at higher elevations and “increasing instability” in the atmosphere, meaning the possibility of thunderstorms, would create the possibility of explosive fire growth.

The red flag warning was scheduled to be in effect through 9 p.m. Tuesday in the mountains and foothills of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, a vast area that includes the Angeles and Los Padres national forests.

There is a “slight chance” of thunderstorms in the mountains this afternoon and this evening, according to the NWS.

The temperature reached 107 degrees at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, breaking the record for today’s date of 106, which was set in 1989.

A heat alert by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that had been set to expire later today was extended until at least Wednesday for the Los Angeles basin and the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita Valleys. Cooling centers are available throughout the area, with a list available online at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

County officials and forecasters urged people to take precautions, including avoiding leaving people or pets in cars, even for short periods with the windows cracked open.

Residents were also urged to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, wear light, loose-fitting clothing, drink plenty of water and guard against heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

“Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location,” according to the NWS, which stressed that “heat stroke is an emergency.”

The weather service also warned of a high risk of rip currents along the coast through Friday.

Managers of the state’s power grid said they had plenty of electricity available to handle anticipated peaks in power usage due to the heat. But they and local authorities at Southern California Edison and the Department of Water and Power urged residents to conserve power.

Edison opened its Emergency Activation Center in Irwindale to provide a central coordination center to monitor and respond to outages. The utility also canceled all planned maintenance outages that could be deferred.

By early afternoon, DWP officials said the utility was approaching its all-time record for energy demand and issued another call for customers to conserve power. As of roughly 2:30 p.m., the demand was at 6,074 megawatts. DWP’s all-time record of 6,177 megawatts was set on Sept. 27, 2010.

The DWP urged residents to conserve electricity to “reduce strain on the grid.”

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