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The first heat wave of the season will bake Southern California

Amid worrying drought conditions plaguing much of the American West, the first heat wave of the season is heading towards southern California.

The National Weather Service has warned of the potential for record heat, starting Monday and through the end of next week.

Tuesday through Thursday will be the hottest days in the Los Angeles area, said Mike Wofford, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service at Oxnard. Temperatures could reach 110 degrees in the Antelope Valley and 107 in the San Fernando Valley. Downtown LA will skyrocket in the 90s and beaches will reach the mid-80s.

Different areas will peak on different days, Wofford said, but the current forecast is that Tuesday will be the hottest day for the coast, while Wednesday and Thursday will be the hottest for inland areas.

“When you talk about temperatures this high, it’s obviously above normal at any time of the year,” Wofford said, noting that June in Los Angeles is usually still mired in a marine layer of cloud. And fog.

“It’s a bit early to have these kinds of temperatures,” he added.

And it’s not just Los Angeles that will feel the heat.

Above-average temperatures are expected across much of the western United States over the next six to ten days, including the Great Basin, the Southwest and the Rockies, according to the Climate Prediction Center of the United States. National Weather Service.

Temperatures in the Coachella Valley on Wednesday and Thursday could skyrocket 116 to 120 degrees, said Philip Gonsalves of the San Diego office of the National Weather Service. These peaks could set daily records.

Much of the Inland Empire will likely be in triple digits next week as well, he said.

The extreme heat is of particular concern given what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls a “extreme and exceptional drought”, Which has spread to large parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and other western states.

The Bay Area declared a water shortage emergency this week. Lake Mead, a key reservoir in the Colorado River, plunged to an all-time high on Friday.

Climate experts have sounded the alarm bells about how the combination of heat and drought can create strips of dry vegetation that can be used as fuel for forest fires. Last year was the state’s worst wildfire season on record, and already 2021 is set for another severe season.

“We had a rainy season that underperformed and didn’t provide us with average rainfall,” Gonsalves said.

The heat also makes fighting fires much more difficult, he added, so if fires do ignite, fire crews will face dangerous conditions.

According to Wofford, the incoming heat wave is caused by both a high pressure ridge building up from the southeast and a weakening land airflow, which usually brings the refreshing sea breeze.

It’s almost like a “lid that squeezes, causing the air to heat up,” he said.

Residents are advised to plan ways to stay cool in excessively hot conditions. Outdoor activities should be limited, especially in the afternoon, and pets and people should never be left alone in closed cars, the National Weather Service said.

Wofford said extreme temperatures would exacerbate the drought.

“With high temperatures, we’re going to have more evaporation and less water to use later. We’re obviously not going to have a lot of rain anytime soon, “he said, adding:” I don’t know how much that makes it worse – it’s bad enough. “

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