People were out on the beach and Santa Monica Pier Monday despite a heat wave taking up the first part of the week. Credit: Thomas Leffler

Though the calendar is about to change to September, summer conditions remain in Santa Monica, with temperatures set to peak in the area during the final week of August.

Monday’s high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, recorded by a National Weather Service observation station at Santa Monica Municipal Airport, was the first 80-degree day in the city since July 31 and just the fifth day to reach 80 in 2023. Previous instances of Santa Monica reaching the 80-degree mark occurred on April 21 (high of 81), and a three-day heat wave during the final week of July. July 26 and 27 had highs of 82 and 80 degrees, respectively, followed by a year-high of 83 degrees on July 31.

The late-August heat wave will similarly strain Santa Monica residents with three days of temperatures in the 80s. According to AccuWeather forecasting, Tuesday’s high will also be 82 degrees, and another 80-degree day is forecast for Wednesday.

In 2022, the final stretch of August heading into September was also a hot period, cresting at a scorching 100 degrees on Sept. 9. While this period may not reach triple digits, it provides its own problems for locals.

One of those issues is air quality, with Davis Instruments explaining that high temperatures worsen existing air quality issues. “During a heat wave, air is often stagnant, so polluted air is not dispersed,” a Davis Instruments article from October of 2020 said. “Sunlight and high temps also encourage chemical reaction in pollutants and increase smog.” According to Plume Labs, the air quality in Santa Monica Monday rated as “poor” due to increased levels of nitrogen dioxide and other pollutant particles in the air.

Another peril to consider within a heat wave is dehydration, which can exacerbate both minor illnesses such as heat exhaustion, to life-threatening conditions like a heat stroke.

“By staying hydrated, it reduces the rate of things like cramps, it reduces the rate of getting profoundly dehydrated … it’s somewhat of a vicious cycle, once you start getting dehydrated, you’re more predisposed to illness,” said Dr. Michael Levine, associate professor of emergency medicine at UCLA Health.

Levine noted that those in the heat wave should remain hydrated as well as stay inside in air conditioning if possible. Caring for those with enhanced risk, including elderly and disabled residents, is also a priority, as is refraining from strenuous outdoor movement.

“Certainly limit rigorous outdoor activities to a minimum, and if you’re going to do outdoor activities, don’t try to do it during the middle of the day,” Levine said. “Do it more in the morning or more in the evening.”

Thomas Leffler has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Penn State University and has been in the industry since 2015. Prior to working at SMDP, he was a writer for AccuWeather and managed...