By Joseph Serna and Emily Foxhall
3:15 PM EDT, June 28, 2013
Temperatures reached 105 degrees Friday in Palm Springs and it wasn't even noon yet. It was 97 degrees in Lancaster and 95 in Palmdale before 11 a.m., the National Weather Service reported.
And it’s only going to get worse.
Los Angeles International Airport will match its record for June 29 if it hits 85 degrees Saturday as expected.
Heat records for this weekend in Palmdale and Lancaster, which are 113 and 114 degrees, respectively, could also be broken this weekend, said National Weather Service specialist Stuart Seto.
The last significant heat wave to hit Southern California was five years ago, Seto said. In 2009, a heat wave baked Southern Californians for up to 14 days.
Out in the deserts, records are expected to be broken. The weather service’s Las Vegas office projects Death Valley could hit 129 degrees on Sunday and Monday, breaking decades-old records. The all-time record for Death Valley is 134 degrees.
In Los Angeles, the heat is a particular concern to firefighters because it comes in a year of record dry conditions that have already sparked several major brush fires across the region.
Fireworks also go on sale in some areas beginning Friday, adding another fire danger.
Fireworks are to be sold in 295 designated communities in the state through the Fourth of July.
Since January, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to about 2,900 fires, department spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
In an average year, he said, it would have responded to fewer than 1,800 by this time.
Dry brush is being blamed for the increase in fires, Berlant said. He added that current weather conditions are more typical of late August or early September.
"We're in a long-term drought," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. "The situation is extremely crispy and dry. That equals incendiary."
Weather service officials are expected to announce Friday that temperatures along the coastline could be higher than initially expected, and the heat wave could extend longer, Seto said.
Several agencies opened cooling centers — air-conditioned public facilities that can be used to escape the heat. Information about the centers can be found by dialing 211, the county's information line. Click on the following link to find an interactive map of the centers.
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