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latest news Temperatures of 100 degrees on tap as heat wave hits SoCal

The punishing heat wave in Southern California will produce triple-digit temperatures, increase the risk of fires and increase the risk of heat-related illnesses Thursday and Friday, officials said.

A Los Angeles-area heat advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Friday for the Coastal Plains and Valleys, Santa Clarita Valley and Santa Monica Mountains. Temperatures could rise at least 15 to 20 degrees above normal, reaching 100 degrees or more in some areas.

Burbank, for example, is expected to soar to 100 degrees Thursday and Friday, according to Kristen Stewart, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. A normal high temperature for the region this week would be around 72 degrees.

Stewart said several temperature records could be broken Thursday and Friday in areas including Long Beach, Burbank, downtown Los Angeles and LAX.

Anaheim on Wednesday broke its daytime temperature record at 96 degrees – 5 degrees warmer than the previous April 6 record set in 2005, the weather service said.

A heat advisory is also in effect until 6 p.m. Friday for large swathes of San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties, where similar conditions are expected.

Officials said heat-related illnesses are possible in the elderly, infants, outdoor workers and the homeless population, as well as those who participate in outdoor activities. Residents should take extra precautions, seek shade and air conditioning, and stay hydrated. Children and pets should never be left in cars.

Cooling centers and other public facilities are available, city and county officials said.

A “high-pressure system anchored on the west coast” is causing the heat wave, Stewart said.

A wind advisory in the mountains of Ventura County and Los Angeles will remain in effect until 3 p.m. Thursday, with gusts of up to 50 mph possible – although winds in some areas were weaker than expected, have officials said.

Although recent rains have increased fuel moisture slightly, caution is still advised as extreme heat and strong winds can be a recipe for rapid fire spread if ignited, Stewart said.

“Very, very dry” humidity levels in the single digits and teens are expected, she added.

These concerns are compounded by the record-breaking drought already plaguing the state.

The latest update from the US Drought Monitor, released Thursday, showed more than 40% of the state was in extreme drought conditions, up from about 16% just three months ago. Almost the entire state is classified as either extreme or severe drought.

Statewide snowfall Thursday was an abysmal 27% of normal for the date, according to state data. Despite the brief period of winter storms, California recorded its driest period from January through March, state officials said last week.

The months are typically at the height of California’s rainy season, and water regulators are increasingly concerned about dwindling supplies and setbacks in conservation efforts. Urban water consumption in the state fell just 0.5% in February compared to the same month in 2020.

Fortunately, Stewart said, the heat wave is expected to dissipate almost as quickly as it set in, with temperatures expected to cool by 10 to 20 degrees from Saturday.

Downtown Los Angeles – which is expected to soar to 98 degrees on Thursday and Friday – is expected to return to a mild 76 by Sunday afternoon.

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