Heat wave continues to scorch Riverside County

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A high-pressure system was expected to continue causing above-average temperatures in Riverside County today, with a chance of thunderstorms in some desert areas.

The National Weather Service’s excessive heat warning was extended through 10 p.m. Thursday in the Riverside metropolitan area, Riverside County mountains, the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning and the Coachella Valley.

The NWS urged residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors. Also, young children, seniors and pets should be never be left unattended in a vehicle, with car interiors able to “reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes,” according to the NWS.

High temperatures as of 4 p.m. Sunday were 102 in Riverside, 99 in Corona, 113 in Palm Springs, 115 in Blythe and 117 in Thermal.

Highs in the Coachella Valley were forecast to remain between 104 to 118 through Wednesday, according to the NWS. The mercury is expected to top out around 106 in areas west of the mountains during the heat wave.

Monsoonal moisture could bring thunderstorms to the mountains and high deserts, while slightly bringing down temperatures in the lower deserts, though it will still feel very hot and humid there, forecasters said.

Riverside County has 14 cooling centers available countywide, with mandatory mask-wearing and social-distancing protocols in place. Five are in the Coachella Valley, two in the Banning Pass, one in Moreno Valley, one in Temecula and five in Riverside.

A full list of the cooling center locations can be found at www.capriverside.org/Cool-Centers.

The heat was especially burdensome for firefighters battling the Apple Fire, which had burned 33,424 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest including a portion of the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, but was 90% contained as of noon Sunday.

Winds from the west up to 25 mph were expected in that area, forecasters said.

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