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L.A.'s hottest day ever

How hot was it? The National Weather Service's thermometer downtown reached 113 degrees for the first time since records began being kept in 1877 — and then stopped working. The record highs follow a summer of record lows.

September 27, 2010|By Bob Pool and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times

"At the time, it was so hot that waves of shimmering heat were rising from the freeway," said passerby Aleia Wolkins of Canoga Park, "The flames made it even hotter."

A smaller brush fire was quickly extinguished earlier in the day in Ladera Heights.

The heat put pressure on Southern California's power grid, with utilities urging the public to conserve. Southern California Edison reported 11,000 customers without power Monday evening in such cities as Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Diamond Bar, Alhambra, Glendora and Rosemead. The heat prompted Metro to reduce the speeds on some of its rail lines, causing some delays.

Throughout the Los Angeles area, those who could stayed inside air-conditioned buildings.

In the air-conditioned confines of L.A. County Superior Court downtown, a crisply suited Frank McCourt was keeping his cool on Day 10 of the trial between him and his estranged wife, Jamie. "I'm feeling very comfortable," said McCourt during a break in the proceedings.

Several dozen protesters at a downtown march for immigration reform had no choice but to be outdoors.

Victor Quintero, 23, sweat dripping from his head as he gathered with other activists in front of the Ronald Reagan State Building, took a swig from his water bottle and laughed.

"It's hot water!" he said. "It's boiling hot water."

Looking on was dress-shirt-clad Jim Root. "That's commitment," said Root, a lawyer who works in the attorney general's office.

In Costa Mesa, Kenneth Kaaumoana, 41, was among those standing in a 20-minute line at a recycling center, hoping to collect a few bucks recycling plastic and glass.

Kaaumoana, who recently moved here from Kauai, where the island's trade winds usually make the hottest days bearable, said the high temperatures Monday made gathering glass and plastic from trash dumpsters difficult.

"It's not a really a smart thing to do, I guess, but you gotta do what you gotta do," he said of his dumpster-diving.

Times staff writers Mike Anton, Stephen Cesar, Carla Hall, Kate Linthicum, Ching-Ching Ni, Rick Rojas and Catherine Saillant contributed to this report.

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