The heat wave gripping the Southland will gain strength today amid temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s, sustaining an elevated risk of wildfire and creating severe health risks, especially for the elderly.
The NWS forecast day time highs in Santa Monica of 81 (Friday), 83 (Saturday), and 86 (Sunday).
“An upper level ridge of high pressure will build over the area this weekend, setting the stage for an extended period of heat for Southwestern California,” the National Weather Service said in a statement. “Afternoon temperatures will begin to climb today and Saturday as the onshore flow will be very weak.”
Temperatures will be 15-20 degrees above normal for this time of year, NWS Meteorologist Joe Sirard said. What the NWS calls a “decent heat wave” began Thursday.
“There is going to be some triple-digit heat Friday into Saturday and more widespread on Sunday,” when some record or near-record highs are forecast, Sirard said.
The heat wave is not expected to include high winds, a key ingredient in sparking and spreading wildfires, according to the NWS. Still, the combination of dry air and high temperatures will “bring elevated fire danger to our region,” Sirard said.
“If any fire does break out it could still be pretty nasty and probably spread pretty quickly with the heat, but it would be worse with high winds, which we are not expecting at this time,” he said.
Relative humidity levels are expected to range between 10 and 20 percent and even dip into the single digits in some valley, mountain and desert areas, Sirard said.
The dry weather will dissipate precipitously next week. Moisture from Tropical System Odile will begin to stream into the region Wednesday and Thursday, bringing a chance of showers and thunderstorms to local mountains and the Antelope Valley, according to an NWS hazardous weather outlook statement.
Additionally, large swells from Odile may generate high surf and dangerous rip currents at Southland beaches, it said.