Record highs that far exceeded forcasted numbers swept the Southland this week, leaving ordinarily ocean-cool Long Beach at the center of the region’s heat wave and contributing to a brush fire that burned 50 acres in the Los Cerritos Wetlands.

By 11AM Wednesday, the National Weather Service said the heat in Long Beach had tackled the previous record of 93 set in 1970; and by day’s end, a new record had been set at 100 degrees, nearly breaking the month’s high temperature record of 104. Today’s record temperature is 100, set in 1967. The Weather Channel lists today’s high as 88 and as of 8AM, the temperature was already 82. 

Strong Santa Ana winds and bone-dry humidity added to the startlingly warm weather, prompting a county-wide red flag warning Monday that remains in effect until at least 8PM Thursday night. These winds and red-flag conditions made a difficult time for the firefighters attempting to put out Wednesday’s brush fire, which started around 9:45AM and eventually jumped from the wetland area behind Marina Pacifica to dry palm trees in the parking lot of the Seaport Marina Hotel across the street.   

During the heat wave, Long Beach’s Health Officer Mitchell Kushner warned residents to be conscious of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

“We are reminding residents to be safe and take precautions to protect themselves, especially while participating in outdoor activities,” said Kushner. “Infants and very young children, older adults and people with chronic illness are at an increased risk for heat-related ailments.” 

Kusher also offered the following tips to stay cool and healthy:

  • staying hydrated by drinking water before, during and after outdoor activities
  • avoiding beverages containing caffeine or alcohol
  • taking frequent breaks while working or playing outdoors
  • planning strenuous outdoor activities for mornings or evenings
  • wearing loose clothing and a wide-brimmed hat while outside
  • applying sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 about 15 minutes before going outside and re-apply it at least every two hours
  • wearing sunglasses that block all UVA and UVB rays, because chronic exposure can cause cataracts
  • seeking air conditioning in libraries, stores, malls or theaters if it is unavailable at home
  • checking on frail, elderly or home-bound people
  • moving to a cooler place at the first sign of heat illness, such as dizziness, nausea, headaches and muscle cramps.