Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Hot weather continued to bake the Southland Thursday, but the heat wave is expected to begin dissipating tomorrow, although temperatures will still remain above normal into Saturday.

As of late afternoon, the Southland had been spared the severe pop-up thunderstorms that brought heavy rain and lightning to areas ranging from Castaic to Long Beach to Huntington Beach on Wednesday. But forecasters warned there was still a threat of possible storms until Sunday, although primarily confined to the mountains and Antelope Valley.

“With light east to southeast steering winds, any thunderstorms that develop over the mountains today and tomorrow could drift into the valley and coastal areas of Los Angeles County,” according to the National Weather Service.

An excessive heat warning that has been in place for the past several days is expected to expire tonight. But forecasters said that doesn’t mean the hot weather is over.

“Although slight cooling is expected in most places tomorrow, it will remain very hot for areas away from the immediate coast,” according to the NWS. “Significant cooling likely will not occur until the weekend and early next week.”

Forecasters still predicted it would reach 97 degrees in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, but then down to 91 degrees on Saturday and into the 80s by Sunday.

Humidity will remain above 20 percent on Friday, then gently decrease over the weekend.

Along the coast, a high surf advisory will be in effect until 6 p.m. Friday in both Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The high heat coupled with the elevated humidity has been prompting health concerns. Forecasters said those at greatest risk of suffering heat- related ailments were infants, the elderly, the homeless, outdoor workers, people taking part in outdoor activities in the heat, and pets without access to shade.

They urged residents to drink plenty of water; wear light-colored and lightweight clothing; stay out of the midday sun; check on neighbors and the elderly to make sure they are not being overwhelmed by the heat; and never, ever leave children, the elderly, or pets in a vehicle parked in hot weather.

Also of concern is the availability of electricity in light of heavy air conditioning use. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said conserving energy is especially critical between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., when use is traditionally the highest. They urged customers to:

— set thermostats at 78 degrees or higher;

— limit the use of major appliances during peak hours;

— close drapes and blinds to reduce heat;

— turn off lights and other equipment when not in use; and

— unplug items like cell phone chargers, DVD players and microwave ovens that can use energy even when turned off.

—City News Service

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