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‘Unprecedented’ heat wave sets new records

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Fire danger is high

Santa Monica beach
High surf is also expected over the weekend.
Natalia Macheda | Shutterstock

A searing early summer heat wave broke Los Angeles-area records Friday.

In Burbank and Van Nuys—where temperatures reached 114 and 117 degrees, respectively—it was the hottest day in recorded history for each location.

The mercury started climbing early. By 10:15 a.m., the National Weather Service had recorded a temperature of 95 degrees in Downtown LA, eclipsing the highest July 6 temperature recorded in the neighborhood. Eventually, thermometers Downtown registered a high of 106 degrees.

The hottest temperature ever recorded Downtown this early in the year was 112 in June 1990.

Temperatures reached triple digits across much of LA, and more hot weather is expected Saturday—with little relief at night. Lows are expected to hover in the 70s and even upper 80s in the valley and mountain areas.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Wofford says the intensity of the weekend heat will be “somewhat unprecedented.”

In Long Beach, temperatures hit 108 degrees on Friday, breaking a July record set in 1985.

It wasn’t the only July record to fall. In Westwood, temperatures reached 106—3 degrees higher than the monthly record set in 1959.

Humidity is low, and with that dry heat comes increased risk of fire. “Gusty winds” forecasted over the weekend will further increase the danger, and Weather Service meteorologists expect fire weather conditions may reach a critical level Friday and Saturday.

The heat will probably bring even bigger crowds to the beach than on a typical Fourth of July weekend, so expect traffic—and be very careful if swimming. Strong rip tides are also in the weekend forecast.

“Anyone who runs away from dangers of the heat to the beaches will face the dangers of the sea,” says the Weather Service forecast.

Temperatures will only be slightly lower Saturday, with projected highs of 98 degrees in Downtown LA, 105 degrees in Burbank, and 91 degrees in Santa Monica.

Sunday will be “noticeably cooler,” according to the Weather Service—though temperatures will continue to hover in the 90s for much of the coming week. Overnight temperatures are also expected to be warm Friday, only dropping into the 80s in the most landlocked areas.

“Stay hydrated,” Wofford says.

If you need a place to get out of the sun, Los Angeles County has put together an extensive list of cooling centers where residents can benefit from free air conditioning during the hottest parts of the day.