A heat wave marked the first official day of summer in Southern California this week, as temperatures soared in Newport Beach and the rest of Orange County.
Several areas in Orange County reached above 100 degrees. In Newport Beach, according to Weather Underground, a station in Santa Ana Heights recorded a high temperature of 92 degrees on Monday afternoon. Down on Balboa Island, WU reported a high of 83 degrees around the same time.
Temperatures around Newport Beach ranged from 10 to 20 degrees hotter than the historical average, according to Weather Underground data.
The hot weather likely encouraged people to head to the beach over the weekend.
Newport Beach Fire Department Marine Division Assistant Chief Rob Williams reported that the beaches were busy this week. The estimated crowds on Saturday and Sunday was at 100,000 each day. That is borderline a July 4th holiday crowd, Williams noted. Newport’s average summer weekend attendance is usually 80,000 per day, give or take.
On Monday, the crowd dropped to about 55,000. Which is about normal or a little low for a summer weekday crowd (considering most schools are still in), Williams explained.
Despite the high temperatures, Newport Beach had only a few heat-related incidents this week.
Municipal Operations (the Water Division) reported that one of the well sites lost power for about 20 minutes on Sunday afternoon, said city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan. They are pretty sure the issue was heat related. Staff reported that it wasn’t a major problem, it soon came back on and the they were able to restart the wells.
Public Works reported the typical beach traffic congestion on the Balboa Peninsula, but nothing unusual related to the heat.
Southern California Edison had a transformer blow out at Jamboree Road and Bison Avenue on Monday. It is believed the equipment failure was related to the heat. The electrical system failure caused a power outage in Eastbluff and a partial road closure. SCE crews completed repairs by Monday evening. Newport Beach Police Department assisted with traffic control.
Neither the fire or police departments reported any calls for service related to the heat.
The city sent out a message on Tuesday inviting the public visit the library and other city facilities with air conditioning to escape the heat.
The National Weather Service also sent out a message, a cautionary statement warning residents of the heat.
The NWS excessive heat warning for Orange County explained that a strong area of high pressure created the hot weather this week. In some parts of Orange County temperatures were about 25 degrees hotter than normal.
Officials are predicting another heat wave next week.
“North American summers are hot; most summers see heat waves in one or more parts of the United States,” a NWS message reads. “Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses.”
The National Weather Service also provided some tips on how to respond to excessive heat events.
Start by simply slowing down: Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, loose fitting, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
Eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods such as fruit or salads. If packing food, put it in a cooler or carry an ice pack. Don’t leave it sitting in the sun. Meats and dairy products can spoil quickly in hot weather.
Drink plenty of water (not very cold), non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids, even when not feeling thirsty.
Use air conditioners or spend time in air-conditioned locations such as malls and libraries.
Use portable electric fans to exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air.
Do not direct the flow of portable electric fans toward people when room temperature is hotter than 90 degrees. The dry blowing air will dehydrate a person faster, endangering their health.
Minimize direct exposure to the sun. Sunburn reduces the body’s ability to dissipate heat.
Take a cool bath or shower.
Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.
Check on older, sick, or frail people who may need help responding to the heat. Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Keep children, disabled adults, and pets safe during tumultuous heat waves.
Don’t leave valuable electronic equipment, such as cell phones and gps units, sitting in hot cars.
Make sure rooms are well vented if using volatile chemicals.
For more information, visit nws.noaa.gov/om/heat.