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Humidity Intensifies Heat Wave

July 21, 2005|Wendy Lee | Times Staff Writer

The effects of Hurricane Emily traveled all the way to Southern California on Wednesday, making the current heat wave worse by adding humidity and pushing energy consumption to record levels as people tried to stay cool.

Temperatures reached well into the 90s throughout much of Los Angeles and Orange counties, while the Inland Empire recorded triple digits. Highs included 96 degrees in downtown Los Angeles; 97 in Burbank; 100 in Chatsworth; 101 in San Bernardino; 102 in Palmdale; 103 in Riverside; and 104 in Woodland Hills, according to the National Weather Service.

Even coastal areas pushed into the high 80s and above, as did Big Bear City in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Forecasters said the heat wave was expected to continue into next week, with temperatures hitting the 90s and 100s inland. Coastal areas will be cooler by 20 degrees or more.

The humidity will also remain high, with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evenings.

"We're working with a wild woman out there, Mother Nature," said Bill Hoffer of the National Weather Service's Southern California office.

Los Angeles International Airport posted 87 degrees Wednesday. That beat its old record of 84 degrees set in 1974, Hoffer said.

Southern California Edison customers also broke a record Wednesday at 4 p.m., using more power than at any other point in the history of the company, said spokesman Gil Alexander.

Customers were using 21,110 megawatts, he said, breaking their previous record of 20,762 megawatts set Sept. 10, 2004. One megawatt is enough to power 650 average homes, Alexander said.

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