It's autumn, but summer-like heat wave grips Southern California

- An early autumn heat wave will bring above-normal temperatures to the Southland today and through the weekend, prompting fresh calls for residents to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.

Forecasters said a high-pressure system is pushing up temperatures, and the event's hottest weather is expected today and Saturday.

"Most areas will warm up a few more degrees Friday then level off Saturday," according to the National Weather Service. "Warmer valley highs will (be) at or slightly above 100 while inland coastal areas will top out in
the low to mid 90s." 

NWS forecasters say they expect no heat records to be set today and Saturday because the existing records are likely too high to be broken. As of early this morning, high temperature were expected to reach 93 today in downtown Los Angeles, 94 on Saturday and 92 on Sunday before reverting to the high 80s Monday. In Woodland Hills, highs were expected to be 101 today and Saturday, 96 Sunday and 91 Monday. Pasadena was forecast to reach 99 degrees today and Saturday, 95 Sunday and 90 Monday.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health declared a heat alert beginning Thursday and lasting through at least Saturday for the San Gabriel Valley.

"When temperatures are high, even a few hours of exertion may cause severe dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke," said Los Angeles County's interim health officer, Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser. "Others who are frail or have chronic health conditions may develop serious health problems leading to death if they are exposed to high temperatures over several days."

A list of cooling centers is available online at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov or by calling the 211 information line.

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