The stifling heat that settled over Riverside County this week persisted Thursday, while thunderstorms also hit portions of the western county, flooding roadways and downing power lines.
The National Weather Service issued numerous flood and thunderstorm advisories throughout Thursday, but most of those were expected to expire tonight with Thursday's thunderstorms weakening over the area. More than half an inch of rainfall was recorded in Lake Elsinore, shattering an Aug. 31 record of eight-tenths of an inch from 1929.
Rain, thunder, lightning and hail were seen in several western county cities, bringing somewhat cooler temperatures to the Inland Empire during this week's heat wave. Prior to the storms, Lake Elsinore also set a new Aug. 31 heat record of 112 degrees, while Riverside also broke records by reaching the 112-degree mark.
In Idyllwild, temperatures matched a 94-degree record dating back to 1950. The Coachella Valley didn't see a drop of rain, but did experience the usual high temperatures, including 115 degrees in Thermal, 114 degrees in Palm Springs and 113 degrees in Indio. Forecasters said the slightly cooler temperatures on Thursday should jump back up several degrees Friday and Saturday as the heat wave is expected to last longer than previously thought. The forecast has prompted the weather service to extend an excessive heat warning for the second time this week.
Initially set to expire Wednesday, the warning's expiration was pushed back to Friday night and now to Saturday night. That warning covers most of the county except for the mountains, where a less serious heat advisory is in effect for the same time period. The NWS reminded residents that during an excessive heat warning, "persons working outdoors or those without access to adequate air conditioning will be more likely to experience heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion.
Some heat related illnesses are serious enough to require hospitalization and could become fatal if left untreated." The weather service reminded residents to never leave children, seniors or pets unattended in cars; drink more water than usual and avoid alcohol, sugar and caffeine; wear light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat outdoors to keep the head and body cooler; and take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.