A high-pressure system stalled over the desert Southwest began baking Northern California Friday, sending temperatures soaring into triple digits and triggering an excessive heat warning for the inland areas.
Forecasters predicted temperatures would soar into the triple digits in Vacaville, Antioch and Brentwood on Friday and then spread throughout the region inland from the coast for the next four days. An excessive heat warning had been issued for the inland Bay Area communities over those four days with highs predicted to range from 102-104.
For residents along the coast, marine breezes were predicted to bring some relief with temperatures forecasted to reach into the 80s. Thousands were expected to flock to local beaches.
Fire officials warned that the combination of the heat wave and fireworks from the upcoming Fourth of July holiday posed a severe threat of wildfires.
Meanwhile in Southern California, the National Weather Service issued excessive-heat warnings beginning Friday through Sunday night for areas from Santa Barbara County south to the Mexican border.
Forecasters expected triple-digit highs in many areas — even above 5,000 feet in the mountains.
Excessive-heat watches were also posted for the 450-mile length of the Central Valley from Bakersfield north to Redding, and advisories were issued for interior valleys of the San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay region, where highs are expected to range from the 90s to 105.
Experts warned people to stay out of the sun, wear broad-brimmed hats outdoors, drink lots of water and avoid putting pets and children in parked cars where the temperature can quickly soar. Drivers who might find themselves stuck in a hot car should carry extra sunglasses, water, snacks and any prescription medications they may need, said Ken Kondo, a program specialist with the Office of Emergency Management of Los Angeles County's Chief Executive Office.
The county designated dozens of air-conditioned libraries and community centers as cooling centers and planned to decide, based on temperature, whether to extend operating hours at some locations.
The hottest temperatures were expected on Saturday and Sunday before beginning to ease, but it still will be above-average through Tuesday, said NWS specialist Stuart Seto.
The high pressure system was moving in from New Mexico.
"It's a huge one," Seto said. "We haven't seen one like this for several years, probably the mid- to late 2000s."
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.