Originally published July 5, 2018 at 04:51p.m., updated July 6, 2018 at 10:05a.m.
Thermostats began sliding above 80 degrees by mid-afternoon Thursday, anticipating what the National Weather Service (NWS) promises to be upward of 90-degree temperatures on Friday and Saturday in Santa Barbara. With the continued forecast for hot weather, the previous county fire weather watch was elevated to a Red Flag Warning from 2 p.m. on Friday to 10 a.m. on Saturday. The hot weather combined with gusty northerlies and low humidity could produce critical fire conditions on Santa Barbara's South Coast. As Hurricane Fabio wanes in power off Baja, high waves and rip currents could affect south- and southeast-facing shores, primarily in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
The expected heat over the next two days is less than previously forecast, however, with the NWS Excessive Heat Watch cut back to a warning. Saturday is expected to be cooler than Friday. Nonetheless, temperatures are likely to exceed 100 degrees in the valleys. Southern California Edison has restricted maintenance on Friday that would take power offline, which is when the power provider expects demand to peak. A determination on a Flex Alert — which asks customers to raise air-conditioning temperatures to 78 degrees and to postpone using major appliances until after 9 p.m. — will be evaluated on Friday morning, said Steven Greenlee, a spokesperson for the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state's grid.
For those prone to heat-related illnesses, like the very young and very old or those exercising, resting in cool and shaded areas is recommended, as well as confining physical exertion to early morning or evening hours. Wearing light-colored clothing and drinking cool, non-alcoholic beverages are recommended by County Public Health. Symptoms of heat can include headache, confusion, and nausea. Never leave pets or children in a car, Public Health stated, as it can take only minutes for the interior of a vehicle to reach deadly temperatures.
St. Mark's Church in Los Olivos will be open as a cooling center from Friday, July 6, through Sunday, July 8, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. The church has an air-conditioned room with ice water, chairs, and tables, Wi-Fi, and bathrooms available. 2901 Nojoqui Avenue.
Editor's Note: Steven Greenlee's affiliation was corrected on July 6, 2018; he is with the CAISO, not Edison.