The first heat wave of summer brought record heat, temperatures well above 100 degrees and big threats for wildfire across Southern California.
Red flag warnings will be in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday in the Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest, Santa Clarita Valley, Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area and the San Fernando Valley. Winds across the affected areas were expected to blow between 15 to 30 mph, with gusts in some areas reaching 50 mph, combined with single-digit humidity levels and triple-digit temperatures, forecasters said. Excessive heat warnings were also in effect.
Records fell in Oxnard, Camarillo, Woodland Hills, downtown LA, Burbank, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Riverside, high desert areas and other locations. Friday marks the heat wave's second -- and warmest -- day with temperatures climbing into a sizzling afternoon.
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"The worst of it will be today, but we've got some hot temperatures again tomorrow," said NBC4 forecaster Shanna Mendiola.
To cope with the conditions, officials issued the following instructions:
Be prepared for dangerous cross winds and sudden reductions in visibility due to areas of blowing dust and sand.
Never, ever, leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a sort period of time.
Reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing and drink plenty of water.
Downtown Los Angeles broke the heat record for a July 6 by reaching 95 degrees -- at 10:15 a.m. -- breaking the 1992 record of 94 degrees. The downtown area eventually hit 108 degrees, shattering the previous mark. Heat records for the date also fell at Los Angeles International Airport, at 92 degrees; Long Beach Airport at 109 degrees; UCLA at 107; Burbank at 114; Van Nuys at 117; and Woodland Hills at 117.
The high temperatures in Long Beach and UCLA set records for a July, while the Van Nuys and Burbank readings were all-time highs.
Given the high temperatures, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power urged customers to save energy where possible, particularly in the afternoon and early evening when power use is at its highest.
To help conserve energy, DWP recommended:
adjust air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees to reduce energy usage during the hottest hours of the day when A/C systems have to work hardest to cool;
reduce power use during the afternoon/early evening hours from 2 to 9 p.m., when energy use is highest;
visit the local library, recreation center, mall, movie theaters or any other air conditioned gathering place to give your air conditioner a rest;
limit use of major appliances during peak hours of the day;
use washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and other heavy appliances during the early morning hours or during evening hours;
close window curtains, shades or blinds during the heat of the day to reduce the extra heat from direct sunlight through windows;
ventilate homes in the early morning and evening by opening windows and doors to clear out the heat and allow cooler air to circulate;
turn off lights and other electrical equipment when they are not in use; and
unplug "energy vampires" like cellphone chargers, DVD players, microwave ovens and other appliances that use energy even when not in use.
Government agencies, meanwhile, reminded the public about the availability of cooling centers across the Southland for people who need a break from high temperatures.
Los Angeles city officials noted that facilities such as recreation centers, senior centers and museums are available for people hoping to cool off.
City libraries are also available as cooling centers during their normal operating hours. The city's 32 Summer Night Lights locations will be open until 11 p.m. today and Saturday.
Other cities have also announced the availability of cooling centers.
Malibu officials said the Michael Landon Center at Malibu Bluffs Park, 24250 Pacific Coast Highway, will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday as a cooling center.
The Duarte Senior Center at 1610 Huntington Drive will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday for people looking to cool down. Carson will have about a dozen park locations available during afternoon hours through Sunday as cooling centers.
Authorities also encouraged residents to check regularly on neighbors who might be vulnerable to heat illness, including seniors who live alone, people with heart or lung disease and young children.
Officials also strongly reminded residents to never leave children or pets unattended inside closed vehicles. Also in effect was a high surf advisory expiring at 8 Friday night in L.A. and 9 p.m. in Orange County.
It stems from a large southerly swell generated by Hurricane Fabio and will cause some dangerous conditions for swimmers and surfers, according to the NWS.
Surf of 4-7 feet with sets of nine feet is expected in L.A. County, 5- 8 feet with occasional sets of 10-12 feet in Orange County.
The heat, wind and dry conditions raised the fire threat across the region. A 20-acre fire chewed through brush on a hillside Friday morning off the 15 Freeway in the Cajon Pass northeast of Los Angeles.
Firefighters quickly extinguished another brush fire in the Montecito Heights area.
The heat prompted many to flock to the beach where some faced another kind of problem -- stingray bites. Several people were treated for stingray bites on Friday in Long Beach.