California heat: When will it end?

October 4, 2014
Karen Eisenhauer, of Claremont, Calif., cools off during the second day of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. As high temperatures were ranging from the low 100s in Southern California to the 90s in the normally more temperate San Francisco Bay Area on Friday, National Weather Service forecasters warned it was just a warm-up for what lies ahead this weekend. (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Jessica Christian)

Karen Eisenhauer, of Claremont, Calif., cools off during the second day of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. As high temperatures were ranging from the low 100s in Southern California to the 90s in the normally more temperate San Francisco Bay Area on Friday, National Weather Service forecasters warned it was just a warm-up for what lies ahead this weekend. (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Jessica Christian)

An autumn heat wave that is roasting California is expected to have reached its peak on Saturday, but it’s not over.

Red Flags went up in the interior mountains of Los Angeles County at midday, as temperatures topped 100 in the valleys and hills. It was 102 at 1 p.m. at Chatsworth and Woodland Hills, the National Weather Service reported. That was a little below the 106 maximums that had been forecast, but the afternoon heat build-up had not ended.

Orange County languished under a heat advisory, with foothill temperatures of about 102 expected today and Sunday.

Temperatures at beaches were predicted to top 94 at Long Beach and along the Orange County coast. 

It was 89 at Santa Monica and 85 at LAX at 2 p.m., the NWS reported.

Strong high pressure aloft and weak offshore [air] flow will persist over the forecast area keeping much of Southern California very hot and dry through this weekend and into early next week. Increasing onshore flow will bring cooling to the forecast area early next week, with more significant cooling by Tuesday and Wednesday.

A high-pressure system extending over the western part of the country, along with Santa Ana winds that blow across deserts and down mountain canyons before arriving in Southern California, are generating the sweltering conditions.

The hot temperatures, dry and windy conditions are triggering warnings of high fire danger across the state.

The U.S. Forest Service has implemented 24-hour firefighter staffing. The Los Angeles County Fire Department has beefed up many of its firefighting crews from three to four people and stationed extra equipment in strategic locations.

“We’ve got wind, heat, the perfect combination, everything in alignment for a potential brushfire,” fire Capt. Rich Moody said Friday as he and his crew patrolled a Southern California hillside.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is urging people to set thermostats at 78 degrees.

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CNS and AP materials were used in this report.

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