Officials expect a 20 percent increase in attendance at local "cooling centers," which include community centers and public libraries, as residents prepare for July's heat wave. Temperatures are expected to hit the mid-90's and even triple digits over the next month. NBC4's Annette Arreola reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on July 9, 2012.
Southern California is bracing for possible triple-digit temperatures this week and firefighters will be vigilant as low humidity and strong winds could make for tinderbox conditions.
Forecasters predict the mercury could go over the century mark in Woodland Hills, which historically sees the among the highest temperatures in the San Fernando Valley. Pasadena and other inland areas could see 99 degree temperatures.
"We are in for a heat wave," said NBC4 forecaster Elita Loresca. "And then, an added feature, we're going to start seeing some of that monsoonal moisture. For now, it looks like much of that moisture will stay east of the area.
"There is a threat of showers and thunderstorms starting on Wednesday and continuing, possibly, through this weekend."
Over the weekend, low humidity, heat and winds up to 30 mph prompted fire officials to call for a red flag fire warning that was expected to expire by 9 p.m. Sunday.
As the temperatures rose on Sunday, people living inland sought relief from the heat.
Many people lathered up the sunscreen and chilled in the cool waters at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center, where midday temperatures hovered in the mid 90s.
“Scorcher,” said Randy Destine, who cooled off in at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center with his family. “Started about 7 o’clock this morning. Actually did some chores around the house. It was like, ‘Gotta get out of the house.”
Armin Schmit didn’t mind it so much.
“Actually this is not that bad,” she said. “Today was a little bit cooler. We’ve got plenty of water to keep ourselves hydrated. It’s not that bad. And I like the breeze.”
Among the higher temperatures recorded Sunday afternoon were 97 degrees in Apple Valley; 94 in Palmdale; 93 in San Bernardino; and 90 in Ontario.
The Los Angeles coast saw temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the mid 70s.
As residents find ways to beat the heat, firefighters will keep a vigilant watch for brush fires.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which contracts for services with Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, will be fully staffed this week and 23 air tankers will be at the ready.
“We’re definitely on high watch,” said Julie Hutchinson, a battalion chief CalFire. “We’ve had lot of fires just in the last couple of days.
“As you start getting multiple fires, multiple requests for equipment, it starts to be a challenge.”