A record-setting heat wave that has swept through the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley will persist Thursday and Friday before temperatures cool slightly over the weekend.
High temperatures in the Inland Empire Thursday will range from 103 to 108 degrees before dropping to the low 100s Friday, according to the National Weather Service. The Coachella Valley is expected to see high temperatures around 118 degrees.
The high pressure system bringing the relentless heat prompted the weather service to issue an Excessive Heat Warning that began Monday at 10 a.m. and ends Friday at 9 p.m. in the Riverside County Mountains and valleys.
The Excessive Heat Warning in the Coachella Valley and San Gorgonio Pass near Banning also began Monday at 10 a.m. but will last until Friday at midnight, forecasters said. The heat wave was originally expected to break Thursday night.
Thermal set a record high temperature for the third consecutive day Wednesday with 119 degrees, according to the NWS.
High temperatures Thursday could reach 108 degrees in Riverside, 99 degrees in Temecula and 118 degrees in Indio, forecasters said.
The extension of the heat warning comes a day after a brush fire erupted in the San Bernardino National Forest, burning at least 4,700 acres, destroying five homes and leading to road closures along with evacuations of thousands of homes in the area.
Lows in the Coachella Valley may not dip below the 90s throughout the heat wave, meaning the minimal cooling at night could pose a health risk to those who don’t have access to air conditioning because the body needs time to cool down from the day’s heat, according to the NWS.
The NWS also warned that heat islands could form in dense urban areas where human activity causes the temperature to be higher than in open spaces. Heat islands can cause breathing problems, heat cramps, heat stroke, or even death.
County health officials advised locals to take advantage of the 56 cooling centers that opened to the public this month and are available at no cost. A list of cooling centers can be found at http://www.capriverside.org.
Forecasters said the heat will cool slightly but remain consistent over the weekend and early next week, with temperatures mostly in the high-90s across the board.