RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Hot, dry and gusty conditions will significantly raise the risk of wildfires in most of Riverside County Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
A heat wave will continue for another day throughout Riverside County, then temperatures will begin dropping on Saturday and keep dropping through the middle of next week, forecasters said. Friday’s hot and arid conditions will also be accompanied by Santa Ana winds sweeping through the mountains and foothills.
The NWS issued a red flag warning for the Riverside metropolitan area, the Riverside County mountains and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning until 6 p.m. Friday. A heat advisory is also in effect until 5 p.m. Friday in the Riverside metropolitan area.
The Coachella Valley was not included in either advisory.
Winds out of the north and northeast Friday are expected to be between 20-30 mph, with gusts possibly reaching 40-50 mph below the Cajon Pass, forecasters said. Humidity will fall to 5-10% Friday afternoon.
The winds are expected to subside by Friday evening, but relative humidity will be slower to recover.
The red flag warning means any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly and outdoor burning is not recommended, according to the NWS.
Also, residents are advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air- conditioned room, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors, according to the NWS. The agency also stresses that children, seniors and pets must never be left in a vehicle parked in hot weather, even with windows open, as interior temperatures can rapidly turn lethal.
High temperatures Friday are forecast to reach 104 in the Coachella Valley and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, 100 in Hemet and Riverside, 101 in Lake Elsinore, 100 in Temecula and 82 in Idyllwild.
Highs in the Riverside metropolitan area are expected to fall to 95 on Saturday, then drop to 92 on Sunday, forecasters said. The mercury in the Coachella Valley is expected to reach 103 on Saturday before falling to 101 on Sunday.
A high temperature record was set in Palm Springs and tied in Riverside on Thursday, according to the NWS. Palm Springs reached 109, besting its previous record for the date of 108 in 1991. Riverside reached 101, tying its record set in 1961.
Riverside County has 35 cooling centers available countywide with mandatory mask wearing and social distancing protocols in place.
A full list of the cooling center locations can be found at: https://www.capriverside.org/Cool-Centers.