Temperatures hit 110 at Glendale by noon Sunday, as a pressure cooker of high pressure sat clamped above the southwestern United States and made coastal June Gloom a fond memory.
Red Flag Warnings were posted today for the entire county. Fire weather – – hot, dry air, strong winds and low humidity — was clamped over Southern California by a huge high pressure system over the Four corners region, and would produce dangerously hot conditions today and Monday in all areas across the basin, according to the National Weather Service.
By 2 p.m., unofficial readings of 112 were observed in the western San Fernando Valley at Winnetka. Other eye-popping readings included 109 near Agoura Hills, 108 in Fullerton, 106 in Irvine and 96 at the official downtown Los Angeles weather station at USC.
Many beaches were not much cooler: it was 94 at Seal Beach and 88 at Zuma Beach. In places where ocean breezes straggled ashore, it was much cooler: 79 at LAX, and 67 at the Santa Monica Pier.
Stagnant air stymied the usual coastal breezes in the L.A. coastal plain, were many homes do not have air conditioning. One NWS thermometer at Beverly Hills read 107 at noon.
A cluster of triple-digit readings had already popped up in the San Fernando Valley, including 101 at a backyard NWS-affiliated weather station in Winnetka.
The excessive heat warning was expected to remain in effect until late Monday in the Los Angeles area.
Gusty sundowner winds are also expected today which should continue to fuel the Sherpa fire now burning near Goleta in Santa Barbara County, the NWS reported.
On Saturday, the first day of this heat wave, the temperatures peaked at 98 degrees in Burbank; 97 degrees in Lancaster and Topanga Canyon; 96 degrees in Fullerton; 91 degrees in Long Beach; and 87 degrees in downtown Los Angeles.
Extreme heat was blamed for at least one power outage Saturday in Garden Grove; that affected 21 customers, according to Southern California Edison.
Monday is expected to be the hottest day, with temperatures ranging between 100 and 110 degrees, according to the NWS.
This upcoming week’s “dangerously hot conditions” will result from “an extremely strong area of high pressure” over Arizona and New Mexico, the NWS said. Minor relief was expected in coastal and valley areas beginning Tuesday, but the San Gabriel Mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley were to remain dangerously hot.
Those headed to the mountains for the weekend face increased chances of wildfires. The high heat combined with humidity levels in the single digits and teens “will likely bring an extended period of elevated fire danger across much of southwest California Saturday through Tuesday,” according to an NWS statement.
“Dangerous heat-related illness is possible, especially for sensitive populations, those conducting outdoor activities, and people without access to air conditioning,” the NWS said.
Dr. Karen Smith, California Department of Public Health director and State Public Health officer, underscored the seriousness of the hazards posed by high temperatures.
“Heat-related emergencies cause dozens of deaths in California each year and prompt thousands of people to seek treatment at local emergency rooms,” Smith said. “In 2006, nearly 200 people died in California from extreme heat. High temperatures need to be taken very seriously. People should protect themselves and watch out for others who might be vulnerable.”
The Department of Public Health recommends that Southern Californians stay safe during the heat wave by:
— keeping an eye on media reports for the latest weather forecasts and information from local officials;
— learning the warning signs of heat-related illnesses;
— staying out of direct sunlight;
— staying hydrated;
— reducing physical activity;
— identifying a cool location, such as a mall, library, theater or designated cooling center (the Los Angeles Police Department recommends calling 311 within city limits and 211 within county limits to find the nearest cooling station);
— using cool compresses, misting and baths to lower body temperatures;
— wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing;
— wearing sunscreen;
— checking on pets, friends, family and neighbors who may be especially sensitive to excessive heat.
Additionally, the NWS notes that anyone overcome by the high temperatures should call 911 because heat stroke is an emergency.
The agency also reminds residents they should never leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a few minutes.
Besides not leaving animals in a parked car, city animal services officials say pet owners must make sure their animals are kept cool during the heat wave.
Pet owners should watch for signs of heat stroke, such as fast and noisy breathing, difficulty swallowing and distressed behavior.
If heat stroke is suspected, pet owners should place a cold, wet towel on the back of the animal’s head, and towel-wrapped cold compresses on their back legs and belly. The pet should be immediately taken to a veterinarian to be checked.
Other tips include:
— making sure the pet has fresh drinking water served in a large container, instead of a shallow bowl, to allow the water to remain cold longer;
— giving your dog ice cubes to eat or adding them to the water bowl;
— avoid burning dogs’ paws by keeping them off hot pavement or concrete during walks, and if necessarily do the walks early or later in the day when it is cooler; and
— taking extra care to provide shade to pets with lighter coats because they are more likely to be sunburned.
Also of concern is the state’s power grid, prompting Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials to urge customers to reduce their energy use whenever possible.
“During times of extreme heat, we strongly encourage customers to conserve electricity as long as it does not jeopardize their health,” DWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said. “Doing simple things such as turning up your thermostat to 78 degrees and turning off your lights will save electricity use and reduce the risk of outages.”
DWP officials noted that outages can occur during episodes of high heat when residents and businesses crank up their air conditioners at the same time. According to the utility, conservation is particularly essential from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The utility recommended that customers save energy by:
— turning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher;
— turning off unnecessary lights;
— adjusting water heaters to 120 degrees;
— using major appliances only late in the evening or early in the morning; and
— turning off pool pumps.
Residents were urged to prepare for possible power outages by having flashlights and batteries readily available and keeping a battery-operated radio handy.
DWP officials also recommended that people keep a phone charger in a car to ensure they can contact friends or relatives during an outage, keep a supply of non-perishable food and have a cooler available to use for food that needs to be refrigerated.
— City News Service