LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Southland's first heat wave of summer 2018 went into a second day today amid warnings of wildfires and serious heat- related illnesses resulting from triple-digit temperatures in L.A. and Orange counties.
A red flag warning signifying a high risk of wildfire will be in effect today in several areas of the Southland. The warning went into effect at 3 this morning in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation area and the Santa Clarita Valley because of gusty north winds, high temperatures and low humidity -- 2-6 percent this morning, expected to rise to 7-12 percent Saturday. These areas will also experience winds of 15-25 miles per hour with 35 mph gusts -- 40 mph in the Santa Monicas. The warning will expire at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Given the wind, the heat, the low humidity levels and the abundance of very dry vegetation, “if fire ignition occurs, there could be rapid wildfire spread and large vertical plume growth that would lead to a threat to life and property,” warned an NWS statement. “A combination of strong winds, hot temperatures, very low relative humidity and dry fuels could contribute to extreme fire danger and/or fire behavior. Use extreme caution with potential ignition sources.”
Also in effect this morning is an excessive heat watch everywhere in L.A. County, including the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains; the San Fernando, San Gabriel, Santa Clarita, Pomona and Antelope valleys; Catalina, L.A. County beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, the Downtown area and the Hollywood Hills. Highs expected in those areas include the 80s to mid 90s along the coast; the mid 90s to 105 in interior coastal areas; 95 to 107 in the mountains; and 105 to 112 in the valleys.
The NWS attributed the heat wave to a strong upper level high pressure system, causing heat to build significantly across the region and issued a set of instructions to enable residents to cope with the conditions:
- Be prepared for dangerous cross winds and sudden reductions in visibility due to areas of blowing dust and sand.
- Never, ever, leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a sort period of time.
- Reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
- Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing and drink plenty of water.
The NWS said it expected record highs for a July 6 in several areas, including Downtown L.A., LAX, Long Beach Airport, UCLA, Burbank Airport, Van Nuys, Woodland Hills, Lancaster Airport, Palmdale Airport and Sandburg.
Given the high temperatures, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power urged customers to save energy where possible, particularly in the afternoon and early evening when power use is at its highest.
To help conserve energy, DWP recommended:
-- adjust air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees to reduce energy usage during the hottest hours of the day when A/C systems have to work hardest to cool;
-- reduce power use during the afternoon/early evening hours from 2 to 9 p.m., when energy use is highest;
-- visit the local library, recreation center, mall, movie theaters or any other air conditioned gathering place to give your air conditioner a rest;
-- limit use of major appliances during peak hours of the day;
-- use washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and other heavy appliances during the early morning hours or during evening hours;
-- close window curtains, shades or blinds during the heat of the day to reduce the extra heat from direct sunlight through windows;
-- ventilate homes in the early morning and evening by opening windows and doors to clear out the heat and allow cooler air to circulate;
-- turn off lights and other electrical equipment when they are not in use; and
-- unplug “energy vampires” like cell phone chargers, DVD players, microwave ovens and other appliances that use energy even when not in use.
Government agencies, meanwhile, reminded the public about the availability of cooling centers across the Southland for people who need a break from high temperatures.
Los Angeles city officials noted that facilities such as recreation centers, senior centers and museums are available for people hoping to cool off. City libraries are also available as cooling centers during their normal operating hours. The city's 32 Summer Night Lights locations will be open until 11 p.m. today and Saturday.
A list of cooling centers and hours is available online at emergency.lacity.org/heat, or in Spanish at emergency.lacity.org/calor. A full list of locations and operating hours is also available by calling 2-1-1 or checking online at http://lacoa.org/PDF/coolingcenters.pdf.
Other cities have also announced the availability of cooling centers. Malibu officials said the Michael Landon Center at Malibu Bluffs Park, 24250 Pacific Coast Highway, will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday as a cooling center.
The Duarte Senior Center at 1610 Huntington Drive will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday for people looking to cool down. Carson will have about a dozen park locations available during afternoon hours through Sunday as cooling centers.
Authorities also encouraged residents to check regularly on neighbors who might be vulnerable to heat illness, including seniors who live alone, people with heart or lung disease and young children. Officials also strongly reminded residents to never leave children or pets unattended inside closed vehicles.
Also in effect today is a high surf advisory expiring at 8 tonight in L.A. and 9 p.m. in Orange County. It stems from a large southerly swell generated by Hurricane Fabio and will cause some beach erosion dangerous conditions for swimers and surfers, according to thhe NWS.while .
Surf of 4-7 feet with sets of nine feet is expected in L.A. County, 5- 8 feet with occasional sets of 10-12 feet in Orange County.
“There is an increased risk for ocean drowning,” warned an NWS statement. “Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches and rocks, and capsize small boats near shore. Pooling of sea water is possible around high tide at beach and harbor areas that is uncommon with normal tidal ranges. No significant damage is expected.
The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County today and highs of 94 degrees in Avalon; 97 at LAX; 100 on Mount Wilson; 106 in Downtown L.A. and Long Beach; 110 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 112 in San Gabriel; 113 in Burbank; 114 in Pasadena; 116 in Saugus; and 117 in Woodland Hills. Temperatures will drop be several degrees Saturday. Downtown L.A. is forecast to be at 98, and Woodland Hills at 109, with more dropping temperatures to follow.
Sunny skies are also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 86 in San Clemente; 89 in Newport Beach; 96 in Laguna Beach; 107 in Anaheim and Irvine; 110 in Fullerton; 112 in Yorba Linda; and 114 in Mission Viejo. Highs will be several degrees lower Saturday, then continue to drop.