LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Southern California today enters the worst part of a dangerous heat wave expected to linger through most of the week, bringing triple-digit temperatures to many areas while increasing health risks and the risk of wildfires.
An excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service will be in force until 10 p.m. Wednesday in the San Gabriel, Santa Clarita, San Fernando and Antelope valleys, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Monica Mountain Recreational area and both coastal and inland Orange counties.
The heat wave is expected to peak today, and National Weather forecasters said temperatures would be 10 to 20 degrees above average.
The NWS forecast a mix of sunny and partly cloudy skies in L.A. County today and highs of 81 degrees at LAX; 87 in Avalon; 90 in Long Beach; 91 in Downtown L.A.; 97 on Mount Wilson; 99 in San Gabriel; 100 in Burbank; 101 in Pasadena; 106 in Saugus; 108 in Palmdale; and 109 in Woodland Hills and Lancaster.
Sunny skies were forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 77 in Laguna Beach; 78 in San Clemente; 79 in Newport Beach; 93 in Anaheim and Irvine; 96 in Fullerton and Mission Viejo; and 98 in Yorba Linda.
Temperatures reached 106 in Woodland Hills on Sunday and 105 in Lancaster. Among the best places to be Sunday, besides the beach, was Downtown L.A., which only reached 81 degrees.
The weather service attributed the heat wave to a ``strong upper-level high-pressure system over the region combined with weakening onshore flow.''
The NWS said it is certain that even coastal areas ``will also warm significantly during this heat wave, with highs mostly in the 80s near the beaches and between 90 and 100 across inland portions of the coastal plain, including Downtown Los Angeles.''
The heat wave will also bring warm overnight temperatures, the statement said, adding there is a potential for ``significant heat impacts across much of southwest California'' for residents without air conditioning.
Additionally, ``the hot and dry conditions combined with very dry fuels'' -- the vegetation -- ``will bring an extended period of elevated fire danger to southwest California.''
Forecasters urged residents to protect themselves and those close to them by finding access to air conditioning, reducing time spent outdoors, drinking plenty of water, checking on friends and neighbors -- especially the elderly -- and by never leaving children, seniors or pets in parked cars, even with windows cracked open. The interior of a vehicle parked in hot weather can rapidly reach lethal levels.
Officials in Los Angeles have extended hours at 13 cooling centers for those who don't have access to air conditioning. Tips for staying cool, along with a list of cooling centers, are available at www.emergency.lacity.org/heat or by calling 311. Pets are welcome at the cooling centers if owners remain in control of their animals and clean up after them.
Angelenos were also advised to save energy during the heat wave to help avoid electricity shortages. Tips for saving energy are available at www.myladwp.com/saveenergyla.
The following locations will have extended hours, operating until 11 p.m. through Wednesday:
-- Canoga Senior Citizen Center, 7326 Jordan Ave., Canoga Park
-- Lanark Recreation Center, 21816 Lanark St., Canoga Park, CA 91304
- - Lakeview Terrace Recreation Center, 11075 Foothill Blvd
-- North Hollywood Recreation Center, 11430 Chandler Blvd.
-- Mid Valley Senior Center at Sepulveda Recreation Center, 8801 Kester Ave., Panorama City
-- Sherman Oaks/East Valley Adult Center, 5060 Van Nuys Blvd.
-- Sunland Park Senior Center, 8640 Fenwick St., Sunland
-- Robert M. Wilkinson Multipurpose Center, 8956 Vanalden Ave., Northridge
-- Algin Sutton Recreation Center, 8800 South Hoover St., Los Angeles
-- Green Meadows Recreation Center, 431 E. 89th St., Los Angeles
-- Mount Carmel Recreation Center, 830 W 90th St., Los Angeles
-- Rancho Cienega Sports Complex, 5001 Rodeo Road, Los Angeles
-- Slauson Multipurpose Center, 5306 Compton Ave., Los Angeles