IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Some keep cool in local heat wave

/ Source: Santa Maria Times

If visions of slapping on a swimsuit and running through the sprinklers kept you cool Thursday, be warned that today's temperatures might require more than refreshing daydreams.

Keeping a generous supply of ice cream nearby or spontaneously leaping into bodies of water, whether it be the ocean or a fountain, might be necessary to make it through this Central Coast heat wave.

Temperatures today are expected to range from the high-80s in Pismo and Arroyo Grande to 90 degrees in Lompoc and 95 degrees in Santa Maria - even up into the triple digits in Solvang and Santa Ynez, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

It was a scorcher Thursday, as well, with many inland areas hitting above 100 degree temperatures, and Santa Maria had a record-breaking 88 degrees.

"It's not uncommon to have high-pressure ridges, like this one, through August and into September," said Bonnie Bartling, NWS weather specialist.

In hot, dry weather, county health experts recommend drinking plenty of non-alcoholic liquids, cutting back on strenuous activities, taking cool showers or baths, and wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing.

The heat, caused by a ridge of high pressure over the region, was and will be exacerbated by low humidity levels, weather officials said.

The dangerous combination prompted the NWS to issue a red flag warning beginning Wednesday and extending until tonight at 9 for the mountains and foothills stretching from San Luis Obispo County to Los Angeles County.

The warning alerts fire officials to anticipate hot, dry conditions and explosive fire potential.

"High winds have the potential to fan embers and cause the fire to spread to the unburned islands of brush within the containment lines," similar to what happened Wednesday with the La Brea Fire, said Duane Lyon, fire information officer.

While the blaze in the Los Padres National Forest is fully contained, it is not completely out, and bone-dry vegetation continues to smolder.

Firefighters on the wildland blaze, which blackened a total of 89,489 acres, have been alerted to the added risks brought by the scorching temperatures, Forest Service officials said.

Personnel on the La Brea Fire remained at 538, and crews continue to mop up smoldering vegetation within the containment line.

No visible smoke columns were seen to the east of Santa Maria Thursday, but that could have been due to wind direction or fire suppression progress, Lyon said.

The hot weather is expected to peak today and begin cooling back down to average temperatures and humidity levels on Saturday, weather officials said.