Drink plenty of water, stay in the shade and expect crowds by the beach this weekend; meteorologists are warning that Santa Monica will soon be in the midst of a heatwave.
From 111 degree highs predicted in the High Desert to 90 degrees at the beach, Los Angeles County is bracing for soaring temperatures over Labor Day Weekend from Wednesday, Aug. 31, through Tuesday, Sept. 6, part of a larger regional heatwave expected to affect a dozen states from the Dakotas to Arizona. The National Weather Service (NWS) predicted high temperatures over the weekend could set new records across the interior Northwest.
Locally, the latest NWS predictions show Santa Monica Airport will expect highs in the mid-80s over the weekend, but other weather reporting agencies such as The Weather Channel have warned temperatures could soar over 90 degrees on Sunday.
Water temperatures off the Santa Monica Pier were also several degrees above normal, according to surf-forecast.com. On average, ocean water in Santa Monica is expected to be 68.2 degrees in August and 68 degrees in September. As of Monday, the sea temperature was 72 degrees in Santa Monica; according to the website, annual temperatures are expected to peak around Labor Day Weekend each year.
A City of Santa Monica spokesperson said staff did not believe temperatures would move into a high risk category.
“The City, in coordination with County and federal partners, are closely monitoring local daytime and nighttime temperatures and conditions to determine public health risks,” spokesperson Constance Farrell wrote. “At this time, Santa Monica’s projected conditions pose a moderate risk for those who are sensitive to heat, especially without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration.”
She recommended residents reduce time spent in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., stay hydrated, make arrangements with family and friends to stay in a cool place during the heat of the day, move outdoor activities to cooler times of the day and open windows at night.
The City relies on libraries as cooling centers; library hours can be found at smpl.org/reopening (no library locations will be open on Sunday). The Culver City Senior Center (4095 Overland Ave.) was scheduled to be open to serve as a cooling center on Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. and the West Los Angeles Regional Library (11360 Santa Monica Boulevard) would be open as a cooling center on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-5 p.m.
NWS Los Angeles has been using its social media pages to promote public service announcements about hot weather safety as the predicted heatwave approaches, sharing tips on how to protect vulnerable people and pets, such as “never leave anyone (or pets) alone in a locked car” and “bring water to outdoor activities to keep everyone hydrated.”
NWS also shared resources for detecting and combating heat related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
“When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness,” the NWS data page stated. “It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.”
Heat cramps, an early sign of heat-related illness, should be treated by drinking water and massaging muscles. Heat exhaustion, a more serious reaction to hot weather, involves heavy sweating; weakness; cool, clammy skin; weak pulse; muscle cramps; and dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache and/or fainting. In case of heat exhaustion, head to a cooler environment, apply cool, wet cloths and sip water. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or the patient vomits more than once.
Finally, heat stroke is the most serious of the heat-related maladies and involves a throbbing headache, confusion, body temperatures above 103 degrees, rapid and strong pulse and/or fainting and loss of consciousness. In the case of heat stroke, seek medical help immediately, move the victim to a cool bath or use cool cloths and do not administer fluids.
For more information on heat-related illness, visit cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html.