Heat wave continues in SoCal, but relief is on the way

- The region's heat wave slackened its grip in some Southland communities Tuesday but kept the temperatures soaring in others as it went into its fourth day. 

Temperatures were generally cooler along the coast thanks to a stronger onshore flow, but some inland areas continued to roast, with temperatures still hitting triple-digits in the Antelope Valley.

Many areas in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys  hovered in the 90s.

An excessive heat warning will remain in effect until 8 p.m. in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, and inland Orange County.

But forecasters said more relief is on the way.

"Temperatures will cool through Thursday then warm slightly this weekend and will generally remain above normal into early next week,'' according to the National Weather Service.

NWS officials said some areas saw big drops in temperature from Monday's record-setting heat.

"The biggest drop was at Malibu Canyon, where at 1 p.m. Tuesday the temperature was 32 degrees cooler than yesterday,'' according to  the NWS. "On average most of the valleys have been running 10-20 degrees cooler and coastal areas around 10 degrees cooler, though Long Beach was only 73 at 1 p.m., which was 24 degrees cooler than yesterday.''

The cooling trend is expected to last through Thursday, but high pressure will be expanding again on Friday, leading to another rise in temperatures into the weekend and early next week, according to the NWS.

In the meantime, today's heat continued to raise the risk of heat- related illness, "especially for sensitive populations, those conducting outdoor activities and people without access to air conditioning,'' forecasters said.

The NWS urged residents to wear light clothing, avoid strenuous outdoor activity, drink plenty of water and to "never, ever leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a short period of time.''

Several heat records for a June 20 were set or tied Monday -- 95 at LAX, beating the 92 set in 1973; 99 at UCLA, matching the high set in 1973; 111 at Bob Hpe Airport in Burbank, besting the 106 set in 2008; 112 in Woodland Hills, tying the 112 set in 2008; 112 in Lancaster, tpping the 110 set in 1961; and 100 at Sandberg, breaking the record 96 set last year.   

Electricity usage also set a record Monday. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported peak energy demand for the day reached 6,080 megawatts, besting the previous record for a June day, which was set on the same date in 2008, when demand hit 6,053 megawatts. But it was still short of the all-time record demand -- 6,396 megawatts, set on Sept. 16, 2014.

Monday's demand was about 50 percent higher than the usual demand on a typical June day, according to the DWP, whose officials, along with those of other utilities, continue to urge residents to conserve energy, particularly during the hot afternoon hours.

"Under these extreme conditions, our system is holding up quite well, but we urge our customers to continue to conserve to reduce strain on the grid,'' said Michael Webster, DWP assistant general manager for power. "Conserving electricity can help prevent a local power outage if you take simple steps like setting your thermostat to 78 degrees, turning off pool pumps and giving your appliances the day off ...''

The Department of Public Health recommends that Southern Californians stay safe during the heat wave by:

  • keeping an eye on media reports for the latest weather forecasts and information from local officials;
  • learning the warning signs of heat-related illnesses;
  • staying out of direct sunlight;
  • staying hydrated;
  • reducing physical activity;
  • identifying a cool location, such as a mall, library, theater or designated cooling center (the Los Angeles Police Department recommends calling 311 within city limits and 211 within county limits to find the nearest cooling station);
  • using cool compresses, misting and baths to lower body temperatures;
  • wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing;
  • wearing sunscreen;
  • checking on pets, friends, family and neighbors who may be especially sensitive to excessive heat.

Additionally, the NWS notes that anyone overcome by the high temperatures should call 911 because heat stroke is an emergency.

Here are links to area cooling centers:

The agency also reminds residents they should never leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a few minutes.

Besides not leaving animals in a parked car, city animal services officials say pet owners must make sure their animals are kept cool during the heat wave.

Pet owners should watch for signs of heat stroke, such as fast and noisy breathing, difficulty swallowing and distressed behavior.

If heat stroke is suspected, pet owners should place a cold, wet towel on the back of the animal's head, and towel-wrapped cold compresses on their back legs and belly. The pet should be immediately taken to a veterinarian to be checked.

Other tips include:

  • making sure the pet has fresh drinking water served in a large container, instead of a shallow bowl, to allow the water to remain cold longer;
  • giving your dog ice cubes to eat or adding them to the water bowl;
  • avoid burning dogs' paws by keeping them off hot pavement or concrete during walks, and if necessarily do the walks early or later in the day when it is cooler; and
  • taking extra care to provide shade to pets with lighter coats because they are more likely to be sunburned. 

 

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