Heat wave begins to grip Riverside County, expected to last through this weekend

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Triple-digit temperatures are expected today in the Riverside metropolitan area as a heat wave that will last through the weekend begins to grip the region.

A ridge of high pressure will continue building over the southwestern United States through Monday, ushering in the scorching heat, according to the National Weather Service.

Tropical moisture from Hurricane Elida — currently centered roughly 380 miles southwest of southern Baja California — could keep temperatures down a degree or two on Thursday, but that moisture will clear by Friday, forecasters said.

The NWS issued an excessive heat watch in the Riverside metropolitan area, the Riverside County mountains, the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning and the Coachella Valley from Friday afternoon through Monday evening.

Highs in the Coachella Valley are forecast to reach 115 on Friday, then climb to 116 on Sunday, according to the NWS. The mercury in the Riverside metropolitan area is expected to top out at 107 on Saturday.

High temperatures today are forecast to reach 111 in the Coachella Valley, 103 in the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, 102 in Hemet, 100 in Riverside, 99 in Lake Elsinore, 94 in Temecula and 87 in Idyllwild.

The Apple Fire, which has burned about 33,400-acres in the San Bernardino National Forest including a portion of the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, was 60% contained as of Tuesday night.

Winds out of the west today are expected to reach speeds between 15-25 mph in that area, with 35 mph gusts possible this afternoon, forecasters said.

U.S. Forest Service officials said the gusty winds and increasing temperatures through the weekend could pose a challenge to firefighting efforts, but fire lines passed the test of winds earlier in the week.