The oppressive summer heat that descended on Southern California in late August is back — and this time the searing temperatures may set some all-time records while again bringing threats to public safety along with the possibility of rolling power blackouts and wildfires.
Weather experts say the latest heat wave is likely to yield temperatures between 10 to 20 degrees above normal over the Labor Day weekend. Some Southern California cites removed from the cooler coastal areas — including Woodland Hills, Anaheim and Riverside — are among those that might reach all-time high temperatures well into the triple-digits.
Weather officials warned that many factors make the heat this weekend extraordinarily dangerous.
“It’s as hot as it ever gets, it’s a holiday weekend, lots of events and businesses have moved outdoors because of COVID-19,” said Ryan Kittell, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “There are just so many things that make this a dangerous situation.”
The heat was expected to reach peak temperatures on Saturday and Sunday, dropping off a few degrees on Monday and possibly more on Tuesday. The heat won’t completely go away, though, meteorologists said.
Anaheim is the most likely candidate to break its all-time temperature high, the hottest day recorded ever for that city. The high temperatures for Saturday and Sunday were expected to reach 114 degrees, with the current all-time high record of 110 degrees in 2010, Weather Service meteorologist Elizabeth Schenk said.
“This is a pretty anomalous event,” she said, “a lot of people have not seen this type of high temperature before. It is pretty substantial.”
Riverside is expected to at least break its temperature record for the month of September, which is 115 degrees; with the high projected at 115 degrees on Saturday and 117 degrees on Sunday. The current all-time record high for Riverside is 118 degrees, so it was possible that Sunday could reach or even break the all-time record, Schenk said.
Most of the Inland Empire is expected to see temperatures above 110 degrees, in addition to parts of inland Orange County. The temperatures will be cooler toward the coast, closer to 100 degrees or below triple digits.
Woodland Hills could possibly reach its all-time record high of 119 degrees, with the Sunday high temperature forecasted at 118 degrees.
Inland areas of Los Angeles County are expected to be at least in the triple digits, with most temperatures in the 110s in the valleys and cooler toward the coast. Long Beach, for example, was expected to be in the high 90s for the weekend.
Rolling blackouts were a possibility statewide, due to an expected increase in electricity usage of air conditioning because of the heat. A Flex Alert urging folks to conserve energy was going to be in effect Saturday through Monday, each day from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to the California Independent System Operator.
Some tips to conserve energy include not using a clothes dryer, closing blinds when using air conditioning and opening windows when it’s cool enough. During the statewide heatwave a few weeks ago, energy conservation from customers helped prevent scheduled blackouts, the California ISO said in a statement this week.
“Please try to conserve energy as much as possible, so that we don’t have to go into implementing rolling blackouts this weekend,” said Taelor Bakewell, a Southern California Edison spokeswoman.
Anaheim Hills resident Mark Woodward, 60, said he was planning to conserve energy in a few ways this weekend, such as using the air conditioning early in the morning before it gets hot to cool the house down, in addition to unplugging some of their electronic devices, such as computers.
Temperatures could reach up to 112 in Anaheim Hills over the weekend. This is the first time Woodward said he’s ever had to prepare for a heatwave in this way.
“I can’t imagine going anywhere or being outside at 111,” he said. “I think everything’s just going to shut down, I just can’t see it.”
If rolling blackouts do happen for his area, he plans to take a drive with wife, two children and three small dogs, possibly toward the coast where some relatives live.
“We have water in the car and we’ll probably just drive around,” said Woodward, a real estate broker. “At least we’ll have the air conditioning with the drive.”
This heatwave will stay fairly dry, with breezes in some areas, the meteorologists said. A red flag warning for fire danger was in effect at least for Riverside County from Saturday morning to mid-Sunday evening, Schenk said.
The San Bernardino National Forest was extending staffing for fire personnel for the holiday weekend, in preparation for the large crowds and any possible wildfires.
Some gusts of wind could also possibly reach the 5 Freeway near the Grapevine and Gorman, causing concerns for fire danger in that area, Kittell said.
High temperatures for Saturday and Sunday: Anaheim: 114, 114; Mission Viejo: 113, 113; Long Beach: 96, 97; Van Nuys: 111, 111; Hemet: 111, 115; San Bernardino: 115, 117; Pasadena: 113, 113; Los Angeles: 109, 110; Riverside: 115, 117; El Segundo: 89, 92.
Source: Orange County Register