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Heat wave breaks more records

June 21, 2008|David Pierson | Times Staff Writer

Southern California endured Day 3 of the year's first major heat wave, with temperatures topping 100 degrees in many valley areas Friday. Temperatures will cool slightly today, but Southern California can still expect a hot weekend. Here are some details:

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Were any records set?

Yes. The mercury reached 111 degrees in Woodland Hills, beating the previous record set in 1973 by four degrees, and temperatures reached 93 degrees in Oxnard, 10 degrees hotter than the old record, also set in 1973. And the 106-degree heat in Burbank tied the former high set 35 years ago.

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How did the power system hold up?

The record heat caused record electricity use, and more than 20,000 customers in Los Angeles alone lost power for part of the day Friday. Southern California Edison reported no major problems.

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How are people dealing with the heat?

In Glendale, Jessica Pak walked out of the air-conditioned confines of a fast-food restaurant onto Brand Avenue, slumped her shoulders and announced to her friends, "Oh my God, it's so hot!" This was the first day of the 16-year-old's summer break, and she was already dreading the weather.

"I hate this weather," she said. "It's like end-of-the-world hot. I don't remember it ever being this hot this early in summer."

Her friend, Lisa Baroutgian, 15, had a more rosy view. "But we can go pool-hopping," she said. "We can slip 'n' slide. Go to the beach. Lose a lot of weight." For now, they had to settle on shopping, moving from one cool store to another. "It's too hot to even go to the Americana" mall, Pak said. "They should have made it indoors."

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What are some tips for avoiding heat-related illnesses?

Drink plenty of water, but avoid caffeine and alcohol, which cause fluid loss. Drink fruit juice or sports drinks to replace salt and minerals lost through sweat. Take advantage of shade and air-conditioning. Children, the elderly and pets should never be left in an enclosed vehicle, even briefly. The temperature can quickly rise to life-threatening levels even with the windows partly open.

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Are certain people more susceptible to heat illness?

Many of those who have died of suspected heat-related causes were either elderly people or transients who could not find shelter from the heat.

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What is heat stroke?

The body gets so hot that the normal mechanisms for controlling temperature, such as perspiration, don't work well or fail completely. The body's temperature can rise to 106 or higher.

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What are the symptoms?

They include but are not limited to dizziness, hot and dry skin, high temperature, rapid pulse and headache.

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What's the outlook for today?

A little cooler.

Temperatures are expected to drop by several degrees in the downtown area today, said Todd Hall, a senior forecaster for the National Weather Service.

The bottom line: "The heat wave still continues," Hall said.

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david.pierson@latimes.com

Times staff writer Jason Song contributed to this report.

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