Hot Temps, High Fire Danger Forecast for Southern California Today


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Southland today will bake in unseasonable heat once again -- 26 degrees above normal in Downtown L.A. -- prompting authorities to warn the public of a high risk of wildfire and heat-related illnesses.

In effect in much of Southern California are red flag warnings signifying a high risk of wildfire, excessive heat warnings indicating a high risk of heat-related illnesses, and wind advisories denoting warm, potentially destructive Santa Ana winds gusting at as much as 60 miles per hour. The highest wind gusts recorded in Los Angeles this morning included 53 miles per hour in Chilao in the San Gabriels, 50 mph in Sylmar in the San Fernando Valley and 45 mph in the Malibu Hills in the Santa Monica Mountains.

A red flag warning -- declared because of high heat, gusty winds, humidity levels of between 6 and 12 percent, and bone-dry vegetation -- will be in force until 6 p.m. Wednesday in all of Los Angeles County, with the exception of the Antelope Valley.

Specifically, the area under red flag warnings, excessive heat warnings and wind advisories includes the San Gabriel mountains in L.A. and Ventura counties, the Angeles National Forest in L.A. County and the adjoining Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County, the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel Valleys, and the L.A. coastal zone, which consists of beach cities, metropolitan L.A., and the Hollywood Hills.

The excessive heat warning will expire at 8 tonight. The wind advisories will expire at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

In the city of Los Angeles, red flag parking restrictions imposed by the Los Angeles Fire Department will be in effect on hilly, narrow streets for the first time in three years. The restrictions are going into effect at 8 a.m. and scheduled to remain in place 24 hours. They're meant to ensure that emergency vehicles are able to navigate narrow streets to respond to fires and that residents are able to safely evacuate if need be.

Vehicles parked illegally in posted locations in ``very high fire hazard severity zones'' will be subject to towing, according to the LAFD.

``A moderate to locally strong Santa Ana wind event will bring windy, hot and very dry conditions through Wednesday to much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties,'' said a National Weather Service statement.

``This event is especially concerning because of the multiple day nature of it, which we have not seen yet this season, and such events have a history or large fires.''

Winds of between 20 and 30 miles per hour gusting to 50 mph will blow through coastal and valley areas today while in the mountains, gusts of 60 mph are expected, NWS forecasters said.

At the same time, temperatures will be unusually high -- 104 degrees in downtown L.A. and 106 in Pasadena, according to the NWS.

``With these prolonged weather conditions, and the very dry fuels/vegetation, extreme fire behavior is likely if any fire ignition begins, threatening life and property,'' according to an NWS statement that urged members of the public to exercise caution when handling fire or equipment that could spark fires.

NWS forecasters also urged area residents to guard against the unseasonable heat, scheduling strenuous activity early in the morning or the evening, drinking lots of water, wearing light, loose fitting clothing, and never leaving people or pets in parked cars, even with a window cracked open.

The NWS forecast sunny skies today and highs of 88 on Mount Wilson; 90 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 98 in Avalon and Saugus; 100 at LAX; 103 in Woodland Hills; 104 in Downtown L.A., Long Beach and Burbank; 105 in San Gabriel; and 106 in Pasadena.

Normal highs for this time of year include 78 in Downtown L.A., 81 in Pasadena and 82 in Woodland Hills, said NWS meteorologist Rich Thompson.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 87 in Laguna Beach; 88 in Newport Beach; 93 in San Clemente; 101 in Mission Viejo; 102 in Irvine; and 103 in Anaheim, Fullerton and Yorba Linda.

A cooling trend will get underway Wednesday, though temperatures in some communities will remain in the 90s and low 100s.


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