It may be a bit difficult to believe as much of the overcast Los Angeles area Wednesday was under a heavy cloud cover with temperatures inland in the mid 70s and less than that at the coast, but what could be a dangerous heat wave is about to heat the Southland.
State safety regulators Wednesday urged employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness this week as temperatures are expected to hit extreme highs. The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for multiple areas throughout the state that will last through Sunday.
Temperatures well over 100 degrees are predicted in many locations, including some Los Angeles-area valleys, the Inland Empire east of Los Angeles and the greater San Diego area – and especially Palm Springs where the mercury could get to 114.
“Employers need to be aware of the rules that protect workers from heat illness,” said Juliann Sum, chief of the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “Water, rest, shade and increased vigilance are absolutely essential in high heat conditions.”
Cal-OSHA officials recommend that employers provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart, or four 8-ounce glasses of water per hour, and encourage them to do so. They are also advised to provide access to shade and encourage employees to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes.
Cal/OSHA will inspect outdoor work sites in industries such as agriculture, construction, landscaping, and others throughout the heat season.
Employers can call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.
Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734).
The hot and dry conditions are expected to last through Saturday, creating an elevated fire danger and a risk of heat-related illness, forecasters said.
Weak high pressure aloft over northern California will slide into the state’s southern half Wednesday, then mostly park itself over the region as it strengthens Thursday through Saturday, according to a National Weather Service statement.
As a result, the marine layer will weaken, and hot, dry conditions will develop, with widespread highs in the 90s away from the coast, and some interior valleys reaching highs in the 100s, it said.
Temperatures will be several degrees above normal, according to the the NWS. Burbank, for instance, is expected to reach a high of 94 Friday, compared to what would be the normal level, 78, said NWS meteorologist Rich Thompson. But there is nothing especially unusual about heat spikes in the Southland at this time of the year, he said.
By Friday, the humidity level will drop to between 6 and 12 percent in interior valleys and some mountain areas, and to the 15-25 percent range in coastal valleys, and possibly lower, depending on the marine layer, according to the NWS.
At the same time, gusty west-to-north winds are expected in the afternoons and evenings in the mountains and interior valleys, “leading to elevated fire danger, with isolated critical conditions by Thursday or Friday” although the coast and nearby valleys should experience only light winds, the statement said.
A dry low pressure system should improve conditions early next week, forecasters said. Until then, they urged residents to stay hydrated during the “first extended heat of the season,” schedule outdoor work during the coolest part of the day, and never leave children, the elderly or pets in unattended vehicles since the heat inside can quickly reach deadly levels.
Along the coast, a high surf advisory will be in effect until 10 p.m. Thursday, with forecasters expecting surf of 4 to 7 feet and sets of up to 9 feet in places. A less serious beach hazards statement will be in force in Orange county at the same time.
“There is an increased risk of ocean drowning,” warned an NWS statement. “Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Sneaker waves can suddenly wash people off of beaches and rock jetties.
“The combination of high surf and high tides could generate minor beach erosion and minor flooding of harbor walkways by Thursday evening, possibly persisting into Friday evening.”
The NWS forecast partly cloudy skies in L.A. County Wednesday, sunny conditions in Orange County, and highs of 67 in Laguna Beach; 68 in San Clemente; 69 at LAX and in Newport Beach; 70 in Avalon; 73 in Mission Viejo; 74 in Long Beach; 75 in Anaheim and Irvine; 76 in downtown L.A.; 77 in Fullerton; 79 in Yorba Linda, Burbank and San Gabriel; 81 in Pasadena; 86 in Woodland Hills; 89 in Saugus and on Mount Wilson; and 100 in Palmdale and Lancaster.
Temperatures will rise by 3 or 4 degrees in Los Angeles County Thursday and around another 5 degrees Friday. But inland Orange County communities are forecast to be 10 degrees higher Thursday and 4 or 5 degrees higher Friday.
—City News Service
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