LOS ANGELES (AP) — In some parts of America, it’s parkas and pumpkins. In Southern California, it’s scorching sidewalks, tinder-dry hillsides and possibly the hottest start to the World Series ever recorded.
A day after temperatures topped 100 degrees all over the region, forecasts called for Tuesday to be even hotter. Highs were predicted to reach 95 to 105 degrees in many areas, even those within a few miles of the ocean.
The National Weather Service warned of dangerous heat coupled with hot, gusty Santa Ana winds that could reach 60 mph at times and will make for extreme fire danger.
It’s the kind of forecast that gives firefighters nightmares. Just a few weeks ago, high winds contributed to blazes farther north that devastated the state’s famed wind country, killing 42 people and destroying about 8,400 buildings.
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Southern California fire agencies put extra firefighters on duty. Rangers patrolling the Santa Monica Mountains were on the lookout for signs of fire or risks such as people smoking in the sprawling area covered with dangerously flammable dry grass.
“Our mission during high fire danger days is to provide high visibility patrols day and night,” Fernando Gomez, chief ranger of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, said in a statement.
The Los Angeles Fire Department declared its first citywide Red Flag Alert since May 2014, banning vehicles from being parked on roads in areas designated as very high fire hazard zones for at least 24 hours starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
In San Diego County, about 100 schools will close early on Tuesday for a second day so students won’t be stuck in stifling classrooms.
On Monday, more than a dozen places recorded record-breaking heat. Downtown Los Angeles topped out 24 degrees above normal with a record of 102 for the date, besting the old mark of 98 set in 1965, the National Weather Service reported.
The temperature was expected to reach 94 degrees for the start time of Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
It hit 104 degrees shortly after lunchtime on Monday, and it was still blazing when the Dodgers and Astros showed up for brief late-afternoon workouts.
“This weather is always beautiful,” said Dallas Keuchel, the Astros’ Game 1 starter. “It’s that dry heat, so it’s going to be hotter than normal to play. At the same time, I like to sweat. I like to get that perspiration and make sure I have a firm grip on the ball.”
The heat and winds were being generated by high pressure over the interior of the Western U.S. that causes dry air to move toward Southern California. Once there, the winds warm and speed up as they squeeze through mountain passes and canyons and sweep offshore, pushing back the normal moist and cool air from the Pacific Ocean.