First heat wave of year in Inland Empire nears end

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Clouds kept temperatures from rising as much as expected throughout much of Riverside County today as high pressure responsible for the first heat wave of the year in the Inland Empire continued its march eastward out of region, the National Weather Service reported.

It was 85 degrees in Idyllwild on Wednesday, tying a record for April 29 set there in 2004, according to weather service meteorologist James Brotherton. The mountain community hit 92 degrees on Tuesday, erasing a record set in 2007.

Palm Springs was forecast to hit 108 degrees Wednesday as a high pressure system continued strengthening over the region, but high clouds tampered expectations, limiting the high to 103.

An excessive heat warning for the Coachella Valley is in effect until 9 p.m. Thursday.

Highs in the western reaches of Riverside County were also lower than expected due to the increased cloud cover, including 86 in Beaumont and 84 in Riverside.

A cooling trend is set to begin soon as the last of the high pressure exits California, which will bring highs in the Coachella Valley back below triple digits over the weekend. Palm Springs is expected to be 100 degrees on Thursday, according to the weather service.

Warming could restart again in the middle of next week, Brotherton said.

Nighttime lows are expected to remain in the low- to mid-70s through Thursday in the Coachella Valley, meaning the minimal cooling at night could pose a health risk to those without access to air conditioning because the body needs time to cool down from the day’s heat, the weather service said.

The weather service urged residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Temperatures in the Riverside metropolitan area will be in the mid- to high-80s on Thursday and remain around there through Saturday.