• Heat Wave Begins to Swarm Southern California

    LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A heat wave expected to linger into early next week began washing over Southern California this morning, raising fears of heat- related illnesses and wildfires amid record and near-record temperatures.

    People planning to go to the beach to beat the heat today were warned to beware of above-normal surf and dangerous rip currents resulting from a long- period southerly swell.

    Excessive heat warnings issued by the National Weather Service will be going into effect at 10 a.m. today in the San Gabriel mountains and the Antelope Valley and at 10 a.m. Saturday in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys. The warnings are intended to expire at 9 p.m. Sunday, but, with a strong upper-level ridge of high pressure parked over the region, they could be extended into early next week, NWS forecasters said.

    Afternoon temperatures during the heat wave could top out at 114 in the Antelope Valley, 108 in the mountains, and 106 in the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, according to the NWS. NWS forecasters said the humidity would make daytime temperatures seem even higher and that overnight temperatures will dip only down to the high 70s or low 80s.

    Along the coast, a strong but shallow marine layer is expected to linger at least through Friday, but “there is a chance, however, that some northerly flow will disrupt the marine layer over the weekend … which would significantly warm up the coastal areas,” according to a weather service statement.

    The heat wave will raise serious health concerns, according to NWS forecasters.

    “Children, the elderly and people with chronic ailments are the most susceptible to heat-related illness. Heat exhaustion, cramps or in extreme cases heat stroke can result from prolonged exposure to these conditions,” warned an NWS advisory.

    “In addition, with very dry vegetation, fire danger will also be on the rise. Be extra cautious with outdoor activities that may result in fire ignitions.”

    Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, issued a heat alert beginning today for the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, continuing through Monday.

    “Everyone should remember to take special care of themselves, children, the elderly and their pets,” Fielding said. “Extreme heat such as this is not just an inconvenience, it can be dangerous and even deadly.”

    Air quality today has been designated unhealthful for sensitive groups in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.

    People who work or play outdoors during the heat wave should schedule frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned areas, according to the NWS.

    “Heat stroke is an emergency — call 911,” it urged.

    An NWS advisory also reminded motorists never to leave children, the elderly or pets in closed vehicles even briefly, even with windows cracked open.

    The NWS forecast highs today of 77 in Avalon; 78 in Newport Beach; 81 at LAX; 86 in Long Beach; 91 on Mt. Wilson; 93 in downtown L.A.; 98 in San Gabriel and Burbank; 99 in Anaheim and Pasadena; 102 in Woodland Hills; 104 in Saugus; 107 in Palmdale; and 108 in Lancaster. Highs will be generally a couple of degrees higher Saturday.

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