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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Southland will sizzle in above-normal temperatures today -- with valley areas in the 100s -- amid warnings to the public to take steps to guard against becoming ill in the heat.
The National Weather Service also warned of a higher-than-normal risk of rip currents along the coast today, but local government officials were paying special attention to the heat.
``Everyone should remember to take special care of themselves, children, the elderly and their pets,'' warned Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's public health director. ``Extreme heat such as this is not just an inconvenience, it can be dangerous and even deadly.''
Among the warnings issued by the Department of Public Health was to never leave children or pets in parked vehicles, even if the windows are open or cracked. Interior temperatures can quickly rise well beyond the ambient temperature.
Jan Selder, director of field operations for Los Angeles Animal Services, said the department gets many calls about animals with heat stroke when temperatures soar.
``You just stop at Starbucks for five minutes to get coffee, but that's enough to make your animal very sick,'' Selder said.
Dog walking should be done in the morning or evening.
``Don't go for hikes or play really hard in the middle of the day. It's too much exertion for the dog,'' Selder said.
-- making sure pets have shade, fresh drinking water and proper identification tags or microchips;
-- being aware of hot pavement or sand that could burn an animal's feet;
-- keeping a veterinarian's telephone number handy in case of an emergency;
-- making arrangements for someone to care for your pets if out of town during extreme heat; and
-- never leaving unsupervised pets in cars, where the inside temperature can rise nearly twice as high the outside temperature, and reporting any pets stranded in hot vehicles.
The NWS said high pressure over the Four Corners area was responsible for the heat wave. Forecast highs include 77 in San Clemente, 80 in Newport Beach, 81 in Avalon, 82 at LAX, 83 in Laguna Beach, 91 in Long Beach, downtown L.A., Anaheim, Mission Viejo, Irvine and on Mount Wilson; 92 in Fullerton; 95 in San Gabriel; 96 in Burbank; 99 in Pasadena; 103 in Saugus; 104 in Woodland Hills; and 105 in Palmdale and in Lancaster.
Temperatures are forecast to be a few degrees lower by Friday.
County health officials urged people planning to take part in outdoor activities to be prepared for the heat. A list of available cooling centers is posted online at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
County officials urged people working or exercising outdoors to drink plenty of water and avoid sweetened drinks, caffeine and alcohol, take frequent rests, and to watch for signs of dehydration, such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches and muscle cramps.