Heat wave continues in Riverside County, along with poor air quality

RIVERSIDE – Triple-digit temperatures are expected to continue throughout the region, one day after the heat in Thermal broke a record set more than three decades ago.

Temperatures in Thermal topped out at 116 degrees Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, breaking the all-time high of 115 degrees set in 1981.

As triple-digit temperatures continue in many parts of Riverside County today, the NWS issued an excessive heat warning that will remain in place through early next week.

The warning went into effect at 10 a.m. Sunday and will remain through 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The high temperatures are expected to soar in the deserts to a high of 116 this weekend, meteorologists predicted. Banning and Desert Hot Springs will also experience exceedingly hot weather – though just a shade under what’s expected in other locations throughout the Coachella Valley – with high temperatures of up to 114 degrees predicted over the weekend.

Temperatures were also expected to reach triple-digits in Riverside County’s inland valleys, with predicted highs in the city of Riverside set at 108 degrees today.

The soaring temperatures are a result of a high-pressure system moving over the western U.S., the NWS said.

“It will be important to prepare for the heat and have a plan ready in case your (air conditioning) goes out or you don’t have any (air conditioning),” the weather service said. “And don’t physically exert yourself outdoors during the days.”

The hot weather is expected to last until at least Wednesday, but could “carry on the entire week,” the NWS said.

In addition to the triple-digit temperatures, state officials have also issued an alert warning of an increased likelihood of unhealthy air quality in many Southern Californian regions, including the Inland Empire. Ozone air pollution, coupled with the heat wave, is expected to last into the middle of next week and could increase the chance of persistent levels of poor air quality, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Ozone air pollution can cause respiratory issues, with children, older adults and people with asthma or chronic lung disease among those most sensitive.

Rain and thunderstorms could accompany the high temperatures, but any moisture is not expected until Monday or Tuesday and will likely be contained to the mountains, the weather service said.

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