A heat wave that spread across Southern California is expected to continue until Tuesday, June 21. The local heat is part of high temperatures hitting many areas across the United States in the Southwest and Plains areas, including Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, and parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. The National Weather Service has issued widespread excessive heat warnings and suggested the affected areas to cancel all outdoor activities until Tuesday.
In Southern California, where temperatures are projected to be in the low triple digits, wildfires are intensifying. Hundreds of firefighters are up against the Sherpa fire which has burned more than 7,800 acres in the Santa Barbara area.
Yesterday, which was the first day of summer, is expected to be the hottest. Excessive heat warnings for Los Angeles, the valleys, and the deserts have been issued specifically for that day, predicting temperatures of 100 degrees in Los Angeles and up to 121 degrees in Palm Springs. According to the weather agency, the extreme heat is a result of an upper-level high pressure system that's expected to gradually weaken next week.
High temperatures can be extremely dangerous. Children and pets should never be left unattended in cars, and water consumption is crucial. Also recommended is avoiding alcohol, sugar, and caffeine; wearing light colored clothing and a hat, and take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned spaces if possible. Cooling Centers have been opened across Southern California to provide relief.
Also crucial is recognizing the symptoms of heat illness. These include headache, thirst, and muscle cramps. Serious symptoms include weakness, skin cool to the touch, a rapid but faint pulse, nausea, and fainting while severe symptoms include red, dry skin and unconsciousness. If left untreated, illness from heat exposure can lead to fatal heat stroke.