Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

When the mercury gets into the 80s at the beach, that’s a perfect day on the sand in Southern California.

When the mercury gets to 90 downtown Los Angeles and triple digits in the valleys, that’s getting a little hot.

When the mercury gets to 113 in Palm Springs, that’s crazy!

All those temperatures are predicted for the next couple days as the first heat wave of the summer season will gain strength Thursday, triggering warnings of heat-related illnesses and an elevated danger of wildfires.

The hot and dry conditions are expected to last through Saturday, forecasters said. The high heat results in part from weak high pressure parked over Southern California.

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.

State safety regulators Thursday urged employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness this week.

“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).

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.

The driest air will be across the Antelope Valley and adjacent sections of the San Gabriel Mountains, according to an NWS statement, which forecast humidity levels in the single digits in those areas over the coming days, without much improvement during overnight hours.

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, a statement said.

A dry low pressure system should improve conditions early next week, forecasters said. Until then, they urged residents to stay hydrated, 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. today, 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 heat wave began Wednesday. Today’s temperatures will be a few degrees higher in some communities.

The NWS forecast partly cloudy skies in L.A. County Thursday, sunny skies in Orange County, and highs of 71 at LAX and in San Clemente; 72 in Avalon and Newport Beach; 73 in Laguna Beach; 79 in Long Beach and downtown L.A.; 81 in Irvine; 82 in Anaheim; 83 in Mission Viejo; 86 in Fullerton; 87 in Yorba Linda, Burbank and San Gabriel; 90 in Pasadena; 91 on Mount Wilson; 94 in Woodland Hills and Saugus; and 102 in Palmdale and Lancaster.

Temperatures will generally be several degrees higher Friday and Saturday. San Fernando Valley temperatures will reach 100 on both days.

—City News Service

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