heat wave

Extreme Heat Wave Continues in San Diego Area, Wildfire Risks Remain High

A fire weather watch will be in effect from 3 p.m. Tuesday through 8 p.m. Wednesday for strong, gusty winds and low humidity in San Diego's mountains and foothills of the inland valleys

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The continuing late-summer heat wave brought a record-breaking high to San Diego and triple-digit temperatures to other parts of the county, with little relief expected until later in the week. Fire-prone conditions will persist.

In San Diego, Sunday's high reached 100 degrees at 1:05 p.m., breaking the record for Sept. 6, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record was 97 degrees, set in 2011.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning that remains in effect until 8 p.m. Monday for San Diego County deserts, mountains, valleys and coastal areas.

“It’s still going to be a very hot day, so make sure you take all of the precautions,” said NBC 7 meteorologist Sheena Parveen during her First Alert Forecast on Labor Day.

Air moisture levels dropped to the 15-20% range Sunday with poor overnight recovery, according to meteorologists. Winds out of the east are expected to reach sustained speeds between 15-25 mph, with gusts potentially reaching 30-40 mph in the southern reaches of the county.

To beat the heat, people should drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day and check on potentially at-risk relatives and neighbors, the NWS advised. Also, children, seniors and pets should be never be left unattended in a vehicle, with car interiors able to “reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes,” according to the federal agency.

To help residents escape the swelter, the county is offering nine air-conditioned cooling centers in Borrego Springs, Fallbrook, Lakeside, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Spring Valley and Valley Center.

Due to the coronavirus, mandatory mask-wearing and social-distancing
protocols are enforced in the facilities. A full list of the locations, which
will be will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday, can be found here.

The NWS said it will be cooler Tuesday, and Parveen said we'll get "a bit of break" that day, but another warm-up begins later this week. Next week, so far, is also looking hot, Parveen said.

'Brief Santa Ana Set-Up': Fire Risk High

The NWS said a fire weather watch remains in effect from 3 p.m. Tuesday through 8 p.m. Wednesday for strong, gusty winds and low humidity in the mountains and foothills of the inland valleys.

Parveen said those wind gusts in San Diego’s mountains could increase to up to 50 mph by Tuesday night, into Wednesday.

“Humidity is going to be dropping, too, so what’s going to happen by midweek, is we’re going to have a very brief Santa Ana set-up,” Parveen said. “So that’s why our fire danger is going to be elevated.”

The lowest daytime humidity during this period is expected to be between 10-15 percent.

The NWS said the strongest winds and “most critical conditions” are expected Wednesday, with winds weakening by Thursday.

“Conditions will be favorable for rapid fire spread and extreme fire behavior,” the NWS warned. “Outdoor burning is not recommended.”

It is possible for the fire weather watch to be upgraded to a Red Flag warning, as was the case over Labor Day weekend.

The Valley Fire

Meanwhile, San Diego County’s Valley Fire – which sparked around 2:15 p.m. Saturday amid sweltering heat and dry, fire-prone conditions – continued to burn Monday.

As of Monday morning, Cal Fire San Diego said the wildfire in the Japatul Valley area in the East County had scorched 10,258 acres and was 1% contained. At least 11 structures were destroyed in the fire, officials said.

Evacuation orders for Lawson Valley and the community of Carve Acre Road remain in place. New evacuation orders were issued Monday for the areas of Corral Canyon, Bobcat Meadows and Los Pinos. Evacuation points have been set up at Steele Canyon High School and Joan MacQueen Middle School. There a temporary evacuation point for large animals at the County Animal Services South Shelter in Bonita, too.

Parveen said smoke from the Valley Fire will linger Monday across many parts of the county.

Thousands of acres have been charred by the fast-moving Valley Fire, reports NBC 7's Amber Frias
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