Santa Monica, September 5: People on the beach along the Pacific Ocean, first day of the Labor Day weekend amid a heatwave. Temperatures are soaring across California. Pic: Mario Tama/Getty Images
A blazing sun silhouettes power lines in Long Beach on Saturday. Pic: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times
9 September 20
Sunday was the hottest day ever recorded in Los Angeles County where the mercury climbed to a blistering 121 degrees (49.4 degrees Celsius).
Los Angeles was the hottest place in the Southland Sunday, but it was hardly alone in shattering all-time heat records, according to the National Weather Service. The city of Riverside surpassed its record with 117-degree heat, and Santa Ana set a new record of 106 degrees. Nor were coastal cities spared from the heat. Long Beach reached 100 degrees, and the South Bay sweltered in the mid-90s.
Los Angeles County High was recorded at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. The heatwave, which brought average temperatures 15-20 degrees above normal was expected to peak Sunday before falling back to normal by midweek. In addition to record highs, the region experienced overnight lows that were higher than ever. Overnight temperatures in the foothills remained in the low 90s.
The extreme heat led to massive power outages and rolling blackouts statewide as well as a number of explosive wildfires including one burning in the Angeles National Forest and another at the Sepulveda Basin, shutting down the San Diego (405) Freeway for nearly an hour Sunday.
Hollywood Burbank Airport also set a record for the date of 114 Sunday. Downtown Los Angeles reached 111 degrees - two degrees short of the all-time record set in 2010.
Cooling centers were open throughout the weekend in both counties. Officials cautioned that capacity is limited due to social distancing requirements.
"These highs on Saturday and Sunday will be about 15-25 (degrees) above normal across the region," according to an NWS statement. "Temps will become dangerously hot for most areas, even over the coastal plain away from the beaches Saturday and Sunday. This kind of heat can be life-threatening and people are urged to use common sense, keep hydrated and stay out of the heat and in air-conditioned locations as much as possible."
The heat wave wreaked havoc on the local power grid, with Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reporting scores of scattered outages that left thousands of people without electricity all day long. Some DWP customers were not expected to have their power restored until Monday.
The California Independent System Operator, which manages the power grid, announced that a Flex Alert -- a call for voluntary conservation -- will be in effect from 3 to 9 p.m. through Monday. Urging voluntary conservation is an effort to stave off too much strain on the state's electrical system, possibly leading to rolling power outages, like those that occurred during high heat last month.
However, state officials said later Sunday that rolling blackouts were possible Sunday afternoon, as the state was expected to near its all-time record for energy demand.
The high heat is being attributed to high pressure, which is forecast to settle into the Great Basin area through the weekend.
In forecasting an increased fire danger, forecasters said they were mainly focusing on the dryness that will take hold in the region, partly because of the absence of monsoonal moisture. Forecasters said humidity levels would fall to single digits in interior areas of L.A. County, and a red-flag warning for increased wildfire danger was in effect through 10 p.m. Monday for the L.A. County mountains.
Several brush fires broke out Sunday, including a 500-acre wildfire burning near Cogswell Dam in the Angeles National Forest. Structures were being threatened, and drivers were urged to avoid Highway 39 so it can be used exclusively for emergency vehicles.
Smoke from that fire was scene for miles, and was contributing to unhealthy air quality in the region.
All residents were urged to avoid strenuous activity and stay indoors as much as possible.
Authorities advised that children, seniors and pets must never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances since temperatures can quickly turn lethal in the current conditions.
- AUTHOR: PAIGE AUSTIN
- SOURCE: PATCH NEWS