A heat wave is set to sweep San Diego County over the course of at least five days – striking a bit earlier than usual in the soon-to-be summer season.
“This is a weather pattern that would typically occur in late June or early July,” NBC 7 meteorologist Jodi Kodesh explained. “This year, it’s early. Temperatures over the next several days will be 10 to 20 degrees above average.”
To that end, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a heat advisory for San Diego County, in effect from 11 a.m. Saturday to 9 p.m. Wednesday.
The NWS said temperatures could reach a high of 98 to 106 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday and increase to 100 to 110 degrees Monday through next Wednesday.
The multi-day heat wave will bring with it the potential for heat-related illnesses.
“That’s why people, especially in the mountains and deserts, need to be extra cautious of the time they are outside, over the next several days,” said Kodesh. “Mountains will climb into the mid and upper 90s, and deserts will soar to as high as 118 degrees.”
“A major cause of heat exhaustion and heat stroke is that sometimes, people refuse to run the air conditioner, or don’t take precautions to be somewhere cool. They think that a fan will be enough to cool them. But, when temperatures top 90 degrees, a fan cannot adequately cool your core, and overheating becomes very easy,” Kodesh added. “People can go from feeling hot to heat stroke, without much time passing at all. It is imperative to keep an eye on those that are susceptible, like children, elderly, or people that are sick.”
For times of extreme heat like this, San Diego's designated "cool zones," often established at local libraries or recreation centers, provide respite. Here's a current list of cool zones operating across the county.
The NWS said the heat wave might continue beyond Wednesday – maybe even through the end of next week. The NWS said there would also be an excessive heat warning for San Diego’s deserts, including areas like Borrego Springs and Banning, in effect from 11 a.m. Friday until 9 p.m. Wednesday.
These conditions also increase the risk of wildfire danger across the county.
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) said Friday that the department would increase the number of on-duty firefighting crews, staff and fire apparatus in San Diego due to the hot weather forecast.
“Several years of drought coupled with heavy rains this past winter created significant fuel in the form of underbrush and grass,” the SDFD said. “This fuel, combined with hot temperatures and low humidity, create conditions which are conducive to easily ignited fast-burning wildfires.”
The SDFD said five brush engines carrying four personnel and one water tender would be staffed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. These engines carry between 600 and 1,500 gallons of water. SDFD water tenders carry 3,000 gallons of water and provide water supply to engines at vegetation fires, officials said.
Also, the Metro Zone Emergency Command & Data Center (ECDC) and Air Operations Section staffing will also be increased over the course of the heat wave.
SDFD Fire Chief Brian Fennessy said officials believe this will be a “very busy summer of fires,” and increased staffing is an important part of the fire department’s plan to combat fire season. This guide offers tips on keeping your family and home safe from fires.