Officials Urge to Stay Cool as Heat Wave Envelops SoCal - NBC Southern California

Officials Urge to Stay Cool as Heat Wave Envelops SoCal

Temperatures in Riverside County could push past the 120-degree mark.

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    If you thought it was hot these past couple of days, brace yourself: it's only going to get hotter.

    County officials are urging residents to stay cool, hydrated and to limit outdoor activities as a heat wave takes over Southern California that starts Saturday and lasts through Wednesday, forecasters say.

    Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials have issued a heat alert for the Antelope Valley from Saturday to Tuesday. Additionally, a heat advisory is in effect for the Pomona area, San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita Valley from Monday to Tuesday, and for the San Gabriel Valley for Tuesday.

    An excessive heat warning is in effect for the Coachella Valley and the San Gorgonio Pass zone, which includes the cities of Banning and Desert Hot Springs, will remain in until 9 p.m. Wednesday. A less severe heat advisory for the remainder of Riverside County will extend from 11 a.m. Saturday until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

    Temperatures, especially across Riverside County, could potentially hit the 120-degree mark, mainly in the deserts. High temperatures in the deserts are expected to range from 110 to 116 degrees through Sunday and from 116 to 122 degrees Monday through Wednesday. In the Coachella Valley, highs are predicted to be 109 to 114 degrees today, 112 to 117 degrees Sunday, 114 to 119 degrees Monday, 117 to 122 degrees Tuesday and 115 to 120 degrees Wednesday.

    Amid high temperatures, firefighters battled a pair of fires Saturday afternoon. A vegetation fire scorched seven acres in Wrightwood, prompting mandatory evacuations and a road closure.

    A five-acre blaze was burning near Lake Castaic around 2 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Access to fight the fire was limited, but no structures were immediately threatened

    Residents are encouraged to take precautions these coming days, especially by people who participate in outdoor activities, older adults, caretakers of infants and children and those sensitive to heat, county officials said in a news release.

    "When temperatures are high, even a few hours of exertion may cause severe dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke,"  said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, interim health officer of LA County. "Others who are frail or have chronic health conditions may develop serious health problems leading to death if they are exposed to high temperatures over several days."  

    He added it was critically important to never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in homes without air conditioning and particularly in vehicles, even if the windows are "cracked" or open, as temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels.

    "If you have an elderly or infirm neighbor without air conditioning, make sure that they get to a cooling center or other air conditioned space between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.," he said.

    Click here for a list of public pools, cooling centers and other hot weather tips.

    "While it is very important that everyone take special care of themselves, it is equally important that we reach out to those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of extreme heat, including children, the elderly, and their pets," Gunzenhauser said. "Extreme heat such as this is not just an inconvenience, it can be dangerous and even deadly, but we can protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors if we take steps to remain cool and hydrated."

    Click here for your First Alert Forecast.

    Wire services contributed to this report.

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