Records fell across Southern California Sunday, and the heat is still on. More extreme temperatures are expected to break records Monday, which forecasters have said will be the hottest day of an intense heat wave that has gripped the region.
“June gloom is on vacation, and we have an extremely heavy, large dome of high pressure over the American West,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “And of course on top of that, today is the longest day of the year, so this is an intense, definitely record-challenging — and probably -breaking — heat event, and it’s dangerous.”
Patzert said it had already reached 100 degrees at JPL shortly after 10 a.m., and it was expected to rise above 110 degrees.
He noted that Death Valley could break its all-time record of 129 degrees, rising to 132 degrees.
All of this heat is unusual for June, Patzert said. Normally Southern California has its most intense heat in the months of August and September, with milder weather in June — hence the “June gloom.”
Looking ahead, Patzert said residents should be prepared for a long, hot summer.
“One thing I know for sure is that global warming is the real deal, and the last six years, we’ve broken global temperature records across the planet, so you’re all living in a warmer world due to all that CO2 we’re putting into the atmosphere,” Patzert said. “So you’re not going to be breaking any low records. From here on in, it’s high records.”
Sunday's heat melted SoCal records
On Sunday, several communities saw records fall. Burbank hit a new high of 109 degrees for that day, with the previous record of 104 degrees set in 1973.
In the Inland Empire, Ontario set a new record of 111 degrees, breaking the 105-degree record high from 2008. Palm Springs saw a record high of 119 degrees. Its previous record was 116 degrees, also set in 2008. And Riverside broke its 1922 record of 107 degrees with a new high of 111.
In Orange County, Fullerton shattered its previous record of 94 degrees set in 2008 with a high of 106. At John Wayne Airport, the thermometer registered 95 degrees, almost 10 degrees above the previous record set in 2008.
Several other communities came close to their records and registered well above normal for this time of year.
At Los Angeles International Airport, it was 85 degrees, 14 degrees above normal. Downtown L.A. was 96 degrees, 17 degrees above normal. And Long Beach Airport was 100 degrees, 23 degrees above normal.
Concern for SoCal's power grid
The California Independent System Operator, which maintains and operates the area’s electrical power grid, declared a Flex Alert for Monday for between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.
The ISO said consumers are urged to limit their electricity use by turning off unnecessary lights and using major appliances only after 9 p.m.
ISO officials have also warned the natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon could lead to energy shortages during this summer. In a pinch, power plants normally burn natural gas to boost the supply, and Aliso Canyon was a major supplier for that gas. Without it, Southern California could see electric supply interruptions on an estimated 14 days throughout the summer, according to an ISO analysis.
As always, the excessive heat also brings with it a heightened fire danger, as residents of Silver Lake and nearby discovered when a house fire spread to the brush near the 2 Freeway on Sunday.
Reporter Vanessa Romo lives in nearby Echo Park. When she realized her home could be in danger, she grabbed her water hose and jumped into action, spraying down her house and property.
Her advice for homeowners, even in communities where they may not normally be thinking about the threat from brush fires, was this:
"Do not cheap out on a long, long, long water hose. So I actually have put it on my list of things to do, is to go to Home Depot and buy a second water hose so that I can make sure that I can cover the front of the house as well as the back of the house."
Patzert also warned people to take this heat wave seriously. For tips on how to stay cool and protect yourself, you can check out KPCC’s heat hacks.
Click the blue player button above to hear the full interview with Patzert.
This story has been updated.