It’s the West’s hottest, longest lasting spell of heat of the year–and it’s to last not only through the Labor Day weekend but well into next week in portions of the region—including California. The heat is making news there on multiple fronts–raising health concerns, boosting the fire risk (fires are already burning) and straining the electric grid as air conditioning use surges.

The National Weather Service Forecast Office which serves the Los Angeles area from Oxnard, CA writes of abnormally warm overnight temps:

“Stunning overnight LOW temperatures. Many areas stayed in the 70’s all night. 80’s common in the San Fernando Valley. 90’s common in the foothills and windier valleys, including 96 at Tuna Canyon near Malibu. The lack of overnight relief is one reason this Heatwave is DANGEROUS.”

The failure of nighttime temps to drop off was behind Chicago’s devastating death toll in the July 1995 heat episode here, this area’s most deadly natural disaster. More than 700 perished here in the record heat at the time underscoring that heat isn’t merely an inconvenience–EXTREME HEAT is deadly.

Cooling centers have been opened in the Los Angeles area and others out West and the heat is fostering poor air quality and producing an elevated fire risk.

THE HEAT IS MAKING NEWS

Says Forbes of the heat, “The heat wave in California is the latest in a series of blistering summer heat waves across the country. Oakland and San Francisco broke daily heat records on June 21, when the temperature hit 98 degrees, taking down a daily record in Oakland that stood since 1954. Records have also fallen this summer in Phoenix, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Dallas, Memphis, Chicago and Atlanta. A heat wave in Europe killed more than 2,000 people in Spain and Portugal, and fueled wildfires in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. During that heat wave, the United Kingdom also hit its hottest day on record, reaching 104 degrees in southern England.”

HERE’S how the Associated Press is reporting on the late season heat wave.