Record heat wave bakes Southern California


Days after a spot of cool showers dropped rain and snow across Southern California, a heat wave on Monday was expected to deliver near-record temperatures to much of the region.

Los Angeles International Airport had the first record to fall when the temperature there climbed to 86 degrees on Sunday — beating the record of 85 set in 2020, the National Weather Service said.

Temperatures on Monday were expected to be as much as 16 degrees above normal, with highs in the upper 80s and lower 90s in the inland coastal areas and valleys.

Weather service meteorologist David Sweet said several locations would be within striking distance of records, including LAX. The temperature at the airport was forecast to hit 83 degrees, and the record for the date is 84, “so that one is possibly in play,” he said.

Long Beach was expected to land within 2 degrees of its 91-degree record, and Burbank within 3 degrees of its 94-degree record, Sweet said.

The National Weather Service advised residents to stay hydrated, dress in loose, lightweight clothing and limit outdoor activities, especially during the hottest part of the day. Pets and children should never be left in enclosed cars.

Cooling centers and other public facilities are available, city and county officials said.

The heat wave marked another dramatic shift for the region, which has already experienced several swings, from heat and wildfires to rain and snow, since the start of the year.

“The fact of the matter is spring is a transition season, so you’re going to get a little bit of winter and you’re going to get a little bit of summer,” Sweet said. “You can get those dramatic swings … but what we’ve been seeing has been rather impressive in terms of the degree of swings.”

On Friday, a low-pressure system dropped rain, snow and hail throughout the region in what officials said may have been the last storm of the season.

The weather system helped reduce the threat of wildfire by dampening vegetation, Sweet said — a much-needed benefit since Monday was expected to also be somewhat windy and dry.

In New Mexico, the combination of heat, dryness and wind helped fuel 20 wildfires that prompted an emergency declaration over the weekend. Experts fear widespread drought across the West may contribute to a difficult fire season ahead.

But in the Los Angeles area, at least some relief was on the horizon: Sweet said the heat wave was slated to dissipate on Tuesday.

“We’re going to see some impressive cooling beginning tomorrow and Wednesday,” he said. “Temperatures will be down about 10 degrees tomorrow.”