Dangerous Heat Wave Continues to Scorch Southland; Flex Alert Called


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Triple-digit heat baked parts of the Southland again today, with elevated temperatures expected to continue into the weekend and officials urging residents to conserve energy during peak hours to avoid power outages.

According to the National Weather Service, heat records were set Wednesday in Lancaster, Palmdale and Sandberg for the second day in a row. Lancaster reached 111 degrees, besting the 2011 record for a June 17 of 105 degrees. Palmdale hit 109, breaking the 1961 record of 107, and Sandberg's 101 degrees topped the 2015 mark of 94.

Many valley areas topped out in the 90s, including Chatsworth, Northrdige and Van Nuys, which all reached 98 degrees, while Saugus hit 99.

Conditions remained cooler along the coast, with Los Angeles International Airport recording a high of just 74 degrees.

“High pressure aloft will continue to dominate the weather pattern across southwest California through Saturday,'' according to the NWS. “Hot conditions will continue during this time across interior areas. Areas of low clouds will be confined to the coast. A cooling trend is expected over the weekend and into early next week with more extensive night through morning low clouds and fog.''

Forecasters said there will also be a “small chance'' of isolated thunderstorms in Los Angeles County on Friday, an occurrence that would raise concerns about fire-sparking lightning strikes.

Although the high pressure system that has been turning up the heat peaked on Wednesday, it “will remain relatively strong through the weekend, with hot and dry conditions across our interior valleys, mountains and deserts, including the warmer coastal valleys,'' according to the weather service. “Highs between 98 and 108 will be common Friday, lowering to 92 to 102 by Sunday. Minimum humidities between 8 and 15 percent will be common through Sunday.''

Southwest winds are also expected to increase through Sunday, combining with the heat and low humidity to create “elevated to brief critical fire weather conditions, most prevalent over the weekend.''

An excessive heat warning will be in place in the Los Angeles County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica range, and the Antelope Valley until 9 p.m. Saturday. An excessive heat warning in the Santa Clarita Valley is set to expire at 9 p.m. Thursday.

The San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, along with the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, will be under a heat advisory until 9 p.m. Thursday.

In Orange County, the Santa Ana mountains and foothill areas will be under an excessive heat warning until 9 p.m. Friday. For Orange County inland areas, including Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Fullerton and Mission Viejo, a heat advisory will be in place until 9 p.m. Friday.

Forecasters urged residents to take precautions to avoid being overcome by the heat, particularly in areas under excessive heat warnings.

“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors,'' the NWS advised. “Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

“Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible.''

The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state's power grid, issued a Flex Alert for 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, calling on residents to voluntarily reduce their power use to ease strain on the system and prevent possible power outages. Residents were urged to avoid using major appliances during the alert, turn off unnecessary lights and set thermostats at 78 degrees or higher.

The alert will be in effect again from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Also due to the heat wave, the South Coast Air Quality Management District issued an ozone advisory through Saturday, predicting increased likelihood of poor air quality in many areas. Levels of ground-level ozone -- the predominant summertime pollutant -- are likely to reach unhealthy or higher air quality index levels throughout most of the Southland.

The Los Angeles County health officer issued a heat alert warning of high temperatures in the eastern San Gabriel Valley through Friday, the Santa Clarita Valley through Saturday and the Antelope Valley through Sunday.

The alert reminds everyone in the affected regions to take precautions to avoid heat-related illness, especially older adults, young children, outdoor workers, athletes, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Public Health officials issued the following recommendations to stay safe during high temperature days:

-- Drink plenty of water throughout the day;

-- Plan your day to avoid going out during the hottest hours, and wear sunscreen;

-- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes, and wear a hat or use an umbrella;

-- Never leave children or pets in cars and call 911 if you see a child or pet in a car alone;

-- Beware of heat-related illness, like heat stroke and call 911 if you or someone you know is experiencing high body temperature, vomiting, and pale and clammy skin;

-- Check on those at risk, such as those who are sick, older adults, pregnant women, and children, and those who live alone; and

-- If you are wearing a mask, avoid strenuous workouts wearing face coverings or masks not intended for athletic purposes.

“While it is very important that everyone take special care of themselves, it is equally important that we reach out and check on others, in particular those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of high temperatures, including children, the elderly, and their pets,'' said Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis.

“High temperatures are not just an inconvenience, they can be dangerous and even deadly.''

County and city partners operate cooling centers during times of high heat. Residents who do not have access to air conditioning are encouraged to take advantage of free cooling centers. To find a location, visit https://ready.lacounty.gov/heat/ or call 211.

Los Angeles County residents and business owners, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs can call 2-1-1 for emergency preparedness information and other referral services.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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