Major heat wave expected to hit SoCal later this week, further elevating wildfire risk

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The National Weather Service shared this forecast map on July 5, 2021, indicating warming in the valleys and lower deserts.

The National Weather Service shared this forecast map on July 5, 2021, indicating warming in the valleys and lower deserts.

Hot, hot, hotter.

A heat wave is expected to hit much of the Southland later this week, increasing the potential for brush fires across the region.

High pressure will gradually build over the Los Angeles and Oxnard areas throughout the week, leading to warmer temperatures each day, according to the National Weather Service. The hottest days will likely be Friday through Sunday, when excessive heat is expected, the agency said.

Excessively hot conditions over the far interior areas are likely to move in starting as early as Thursday and continuing into the weekend. This will bring increased risk for heat-related illness and elevated fire weather conditions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned.

Beaches in the area are expected to reach highs of 75 to 85 degrees, with valleys and lower mountain areas hitting 90 to 100 degrees, the NWS said.

There is also a high risk of strong rip currents, especially in Orange County through Tuesday.

The Antelope Valley and the interior San Luis Obispo County are expected to see highs of 100 to 112 degrees.

Low clouds and fog will generally be confined to the coastal plain and lower coastal valleys overnight and during morning hours, according to the weather service.

Heat is expected to build in the deserts, with an excessive heat watch in effect from Wednesday morning until next Monday evening in San Bernardino County, including Yucca Valley, the Morongo Basin and the Mojave Preserve; Owens Valley; Death Valley National Park; and the western Mojave Desert, according to a NWS alert.

Daily temperature records are likely to be rivaled or broken, with the western Mojave Desert expected to reach 108 to 115 degrees; Owens Valley to hit 105 to 110 degrees; and Death Valley reaching 120 to 128 degrees.

Extreme heat significantly increases the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities, the weather service warned.

“Be prepared to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air- conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors,” the NWS cautioned, adding that young children and pets should not be left unattended in vehicles especially in hot weather.

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