Downtown L.A. could beat a 131-year-old heat record this weekend

A heat wave gripping Southern California is expected to peak July 7 with record-breaking temperatures from the coast to the mountains. (July 5, 2017) (Sign up for our free video newsletter here

Joseph Serna Contact Reporter

The records are set up, ready to fall like dominoes if forecasters’ predictions prove accurate for Southern California’s heat wave this weekend.

On Friday, the National Weather Service expects heat records for July 7 in at least six parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties to fall. Other records could be tied.

Among the places that could see record-breaking heat Friday is UCLA, where the temperature is expected to reach 94 degrees, eclipsing the old record set in 1954 by four degrees, and Long Beach, which could see its record of 91 degrees set in 1976 broken in the afternoon, according to the weather service’s weekly forecast.

Some of the areas that are traditionally hottest in L.A. County, like Woodland Hills, may have consecutive days of record-setting temperatures. Woodland Hills is expected to reach 112 degrees Friday and Saturday, which would break and tie records for those respective days set in 2006 and 1985, the forecast stated.

But the oldest record to fall could be in downtown Los Angeles, where on Saturday it is expected to reach 96 degrees.

The current record for the day is 95 degrees — set in 1886.

As a result, the National Weather Service said there is a critical fire danger in the coastal mountains and foothills as well as an excessive-heat warning inland.

Members of the public were urged to avoid being outside directly under the sun in the midafternoon, and told to drink lots of water and to wear light-colored, lightweight clothing through the weekend.

The homeless, the elderly, infants and people who work outdoors are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, officials said.

Los Angeles County’s cooling centers are listed here.

View image on Twitter

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer in a heat wave. Pets can also be vulnerable to the sweltering conditions and can die if left in a vehicle for even a short amount of time.

When its 80 degrees outside, it can heat up to 99 degrees inside a closed car in 10 minutes and climb up to 114 degrees in half an hour, the weather service said. A law that took effect this year allows Californians to break into vehicles to rescue animals if they appear to be in danger of excessive heat.

Of course, this being summer in L.A., the extra heat isn’t shocking. But Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the heat waves are “definitely coming earlier this year.”

Usually Southern California sees its warmest weather in August or September, he said.

View image on Twitter


NWS San Diego

#Hot to very hot inland thru Sat. Avoid working outdoors, drink plenty of fluids & take breaks in the shade or buildings with A/C. #cawx
4:50 AM - 6 Jul 2017

Twitter Ads info and privacy

The sizzling temperatures are the result of a jet stream that brings cooler weather to the California coast, moving north due to the position of the sun relative to the Earth in summer, Patzert said.

That shift produces the American Southwest monsoon where high pressure settles over the Four Corners region of the U.S. — where Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado meet — and pulls in tropical moisture from the Gulf of California and warm air from the Mexican desert.

The system is currently settled over the desert in the Southwest and spreading sweltering temperatures from California to Oregon and as far east as central Texas.

The mixture of heat and humidity makes it difficult for the human body to insulate itself from the heat in the shade. It also increases the chances of thunderstorms that will produce dry lightning and spark wildfires.

“This one is more intense than we saw in June…and so the danger to the vulnerable just got maxed up,” Patzert said of the current heat wave.