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Tuesday was the hottest day of 2021 — and Wednesday won’t be much different

It was the hottest day of the year in Southern California on Tuesday, June 15, and Wednesday could be about the same — not that your internal thermometer would likely recognize any small change.

“If it’s 2 degrees warmer or 2 degrees cooler, it won’t make much of a difference to anyone but us, because we like numbers,” said Phil Gonsalves, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego. “The more extreme the temperature is, the more difficult it is for our sensory mechanism to tell the difference.”

Gonsalves based his declaration that June 15 was the hottest day of 2021 — a smidgen warmer than on June 14 — by examining temperatures in Palm Springs and Riverside. Palm Springs International Airport recorded 117 degrees on Tuesday, 5 degrees higher than the day before. The 104-degree recording at Riverside Municipal Airport was also 5 degrees higher than on Monday.

Gonsalves was unsure whether Tuesday was the hottest day of the year in Orange County. Anaheim was at 94 degrees but was still topped by the 96 degrees on April 1. The Los Angeles/Oxnard weather service office did not have information available for its region.

Although temperatures will fall from now through Monday, it’s more of a less-hot trend than a cooling trend, especially in the Inland Empire. Temperatures are 20 degrees higher than usual for this time of year in some places. (Of course, if you live on the coast, it’s no sweat.)

“Oh, yeah. It’s way above normal,” Gonsalves said. “It’s not until Monday or Tuesday that we are going to have a significant decrease in temperatures.”

By then, the high in Riverside should be about 93 degrees; for the San Fernando Valley, the high should be down to 86 degrees. And Inland Orange County, which is largely avoiding 100-degrees days this week, will top out at a comfy 81 degrees on Monday.

In the meantime, though, advisories are in effect for dangerously high heat: High 90s and triple-digit temperatures are forecast for much of the region through Sunday.

Gonsalves explained how temperatures could be so far above normal this week. He said he notices that when he uses an air pump to fill a bicycle tire, the end he holds where the air comes out heats up because the air is being compressed. That’s the same scenario with the high-pressure system currently over the region: The more pressure from the gases stacked on top of each other in the atmosphere, the hotter the air gets.

The Riverside Office of Emergency Management on Tuesday cautioned residents of the region to recognize symptoms of heat exhaustion that include dizziness; excessive sweating; cool, pale or clammy skin; nausea; a rapid, faint pulse; and muscle cramps. Treatment should include moving to an air-conditioned location, drinking water and taking a cool shower or using cold compresses. Call 911 if a person loses consciousness.

Lucy Jones, the renowned seismologist and founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, suggested that heat can be a stealth killer in a podcast hosted by John Bwarie.

“Heat kills more people in the United States than any other meteorologic weather phenomenon,” Jones said. “It’s actually our most dangerous weather event but it doesn’t feel like that to us. Who’s afraid of it being hot? That’s just a summer day, right? We have to overcome that bias and recognize it as the danger that it is.”

The heat prompted at least two high school baseball games — one in Rancho Cucamonga and one in San Bernardino — to be moved from afternoon starts to morning first-pitches on Tuesday. Cooling centers have opened in many cities.

And in a bit of good timing, reservations are no longer required to splash around at the waterparks of Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Valencia and Raging Waters in San Dimas. Knott’s Soak City in Buena Park still requires reservations but the ban on out-of-state visitors has been lifted.

For those who stayed home and turned on the air conditioning, there was good news: Southern California Edison had plenty of electricity to go around, said David Song, an SCE spokesman.

He encouraged customers to set their thermostats to no lower than 78 degrees, turn on ceiling fans, open windows and fill the fridge in order to reduce the amount of airspace to cool. Such conservation measures will help extend the life of SCE’s equipment, Song said.

Staff Writer Eric-Paul Johnson contributed to this report.

Forecasted high temperatures for Wednesday:

Downtown Los Angeles: 93Long Beach: 78Pasadena: 97San Bernardino: 105Torrance: 81Redlands: 105Riverside: 101San Clemente: 77Santa Ana: 85Van Nuys: 98Whittier: 95

Source: National Weather Service

Source: Orange County Register

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