Hot and sticky conditions with chance for thunderstorms in Southern California this weekend

LAKE BALBOA, CA - JUNE 21: Youngsters, and Canada geese, cool off in the sprinklers at Lake Balboa / Anthony C. Beilenson Park in Lake Balboa, CA on Friday, June 21, 2024 on the second day of summer. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Children and Canada geese cool off in sprinklers at Lake Balboa in the San Fernando Valley on Friday, the second day of summer. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Welcome to summer, SoCal.

High temperatures and monsoonal moisture are threatening to make things hot and sticky across the Southland, with a 10% to 20% chance of thunderstorms developing late Saturday and into Sunday, according to Carol Smith, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

An excessive-heat warning remains in effect for much of the region's inland communities between Santa Barbara and San Diego counties this weekend. In Los Angeles County, highs in the Antelope Valley are expected to exceed 105 degrees, with other inland valleys between 90 and 100, the Los Angeles basin 80 to 90 and beaches 70 to 80.

If thunderstorms materialize, beachgoers in particular will want to take the threat seriously and seek shelter inside, Smith said. Open-sided pavilions found in many parks don’t offer adequate protection from lightning, she said.

Temperatures could possibly reach over 100 in Woodland Hills and 107 in Lancaster and Palmdale. Residents are urged to take extra precautions with vulnerable friends and family, particularly small children, the elderly and people with serious health conditions.

In those conditions, the temperature inside parked cars can become lethal in just a few minutes, Smith said, so it would be a bad idea to leave pets in the car while you run into the store for a few groceries.

When the valleys get hot, many people make the mistake of thinking the mountains will be cooler and that it’s a good time to go hiking. Not so, Smith said: It can be even hotter up there. If you go, leave the pets at home; dogs struggle mightily in the heat, especially when there is little shade.

Also, stick to early mornings or evenings, bring lots of water and wear light-colored clothes. “You really have to take this seriously,” Smith said.

California’s summer is off to a fiery start after an explosion of wildfire activity across the state this week, forcing evacuations and scorching several homes, businesses and bone-dry hillsides.

Perilous weather conditions in the last days of spring before Thursday — strong winds, low humidity and high temperatures — fueled flames from Los Angeles County to Colusa County north of Sacramento, with more than 30 wildfires igniting, including two of the state’s largest this year that each surpassed 15,000 acres in a matter of hours, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The early boom in wildfires is casting new concerns about what the rest of 2024 will bring, especially with the hottest months ahead and another heat dome forecast for interior California this weekend.

Through the last full day of spring on Wednesday, wildfires had burned almost 90,000 acres in California compared with only 5,863 acres by the same point last year, according to Cal Fire data. About half of this year’s acreage was burned in the last week.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.