Southland Heat Wave Eases

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Temperatures will decline by several degrees today but high heat will continue to envelop the San Fernando and Antelope valleys, combining with strong winds and low humidity to create an elevated fire danger, forecasters said.

The ridge of high pressure hovering over the region and causing the heat wave will gradually weaken through Wednesday, “resulting in a significant cool-down through the week,'' the National Weather Service said in a statement. “Temperatures will be back below normal by Tuesday.'' It added, however, that “another warm up is expected Friday into the weekend but not nearly as hot'' as this heat wave has been.

The heat -- together with dry conditions and the wind -- will create “an elevated fire danger,'' warned the NWS statement. But no red flag warning was issued this morning, reflecting a judgment that conditions have not yet risen to red flag-level peril.

The humidity levels will remain in the teens and 20s today, forecasters said. Red flag warnings, when they're issued, often coincide with even lower humidity levels.

The NWS summed up the fire-threat issue this way, saying in its statement: “The hot and dry conditions combined with locally gusty onshore winds will continues to bring widespread elevated fire weather conditions through this evening for all valleys, mountains, and deserts, with brief critical conditions in the windier locations.''

Cooler conditions are expected beginning Tuesday as the weakening of the high pressure leads to a stronger onshore flow and a more prominent influence for the marine layer, forecasters said.

“But very warm and dry conditions will continue to linger across the mountains, deserts, and interior valleys, where temperatures in the 90s to around 100 degrees and humidities between 8 and 20 percent will be common,'' the statement said.

“Onshore winds are expected to strengthen and become more widespread across the interior Monday into Tuesday, with gusts ranging between 25 and 45 mph, strongest in the Antelope Valley and adjacent foothills. As a result, elevated to brief critical fire weather conditions will continue Monday into Tuesday across the mountains, deserts, and interior valleys.''

Off the Southern California coast, a small craft advisory will be in force until 3 a.m. Tuesday, reflecting conditions “hazardous to small craft.''

“Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid navigating in hazardous conditions,'' stated the advisory, the only advisory issued this morning touching on wind conditions.

The NWS forecast partly cloudy skies nearer the coast today but sunny skies in interior sections of L.A. County, along with highs of 77 at LAX; 78 in Avalon: 80 on Mt. Wilson; 81 in Long Beach; 84 in Downtown L.A.; 99 in San Gabriel; 89 in Burbank; 90 in Pasadena; 91 in Saugus; 95 in Woodland Hills; and 100 in Palmdale and Lancaster. No community except in the Antelope Valley will hit the 90s Tuesday, but both the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys will experience the low 90s Friday.

Sunny skies were forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 74 in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach; 75 in San Clemente; 79 on Santiago Peak; 82 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 83 in Fullerton; 84 at Fremont Canyon; 85 in Mission Viejo; 86 in Irvine and Anaheim; 87 in Trabuco Canyon and Yorba Linda. No area of Orange County is forecast to hit the 90s in the next several days, with temperatures generally settling in the low to mid-80s and the mid 70s along the coast.

Photo: Getty Images

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