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Hot spell to bring week's worth of 'excessive' heat to San Diego area

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat watch for all of Southern California, starting Tuesday. Temperatures could be as high as 15 degrees above normal, and KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says the hot and humid weather is expected to last for days.

August will end on a high note in the San Diego area — extremely high temperatures, that is — and the beginning of September will bring no respite from the muggy summer swelter, forecasters reported Monday.

With a week of torrid conditions expected across the region, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued an excessive-heat warning, effective from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 8 p.m. next Monday.

“It looks like this heat wave will go almost all the way until the coast with the beaches being the only areas escaping the heat,” said Alex Tardy meteorologist from the National Weather Service.


According to the meteorologist, temperatures will jump 10 to 15 degrees above normal in many areas during the heat wave.

“It probably will come in two cycles. So we’ll get a burst on Wednesday-Thursday and then we’ll have a burst on Sunday-Monday of the upcoming weekend,” Tardy said.

Over the period, thermometer readings will rise well into the 80s at the beaches, the 90s over inland valleys and up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the deserts, and high humidity levels will make it feel even hotter, the NWS advised. Nighttime will bring only modest relief, with minimum temperatures no lower than the 70s.

“That's when you're going to have to run your AC more. And if you don't have AC, think about your building or your house — it's going to be accumulating that heat over several days. And each night that doesn't cool off very well, makes you start off warmer the next day,” Tardy said.

He attributes the lack of nighttime cooling partly to the warm ocean temperatures.


The soaring temperatures will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or exercising outdoors, meteorologists cautioned.

For those who live inland with lots of asphalt and less tree cover, the heat can be life-threatening, according to Danielle Wilkerson of the climate action group SanDiego350.

She said heat waves are especially brutal for the unhoused.

“A lack of tree cover is directly correlated with increased temperatures,” Wilkerson said. “It could be … two neighboring cities with five degrees plus of a difference. That’s determined strictly by how many trees you have.”

The city of San Diego has 14 public pools but only nine are available for residents to cool off. Five are closed for the rest of the year.

However, San Diego County will have dozens of "Cool Zones" offering air-conditioned rooms open for all residents to escape the heat.

The weather service advised drinking plenty of water during the extra-hot spell while avoiding dehydrating alcoholic, sugary or caffeinated drinks; dressing in lightweight, light-colored clothing; eating small but more frequent meals; keeping an eye on those who may be particularly vulnerable to the heat, including small children and the elderly; and staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day, if possible.

Tardy added that the extreme heat creates elevated fire weather conditions, and people celebrating during the holiday weekend could increase the potential for fires to start.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.