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Triple-digit heat and high surf on tap for Southern California

August 24, 2010 |  8:54 am

Heat, humidity and surf are expected to be on the rise Tuesday. Even the fire danger is going up.

An excessive heat warning will be in effect from noon Tuesday through 8 p.m. Wednesday, and forecasters say a slight rise in humidity combined with triple-digit temperatures will cause "dangerously high heat index readings" in valley and mountain areas over the next few days, according to the National Weather Service.

"With the humidity added to the heat, it will feel even hotter," said Stuart Seto, weather specialist with the National Weather Service.

The warning means prolonged high temperatures will make for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so authorities are advising people to drink lots of fluids, stay in air-conditioned rooms and stay out of the sun.

Forecasters say the hot, high-pressure system kept at bay for most of the summer has finally arrived, bringing record-breaking heat. Temperatures are expected to reach 105 in the valleys and 100 in lower mountain areas.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service expect the heat to break several records.

"Everybody's going to be climbing within three degrees of the records or breaking them," Seto said.

Brace for highs of 104 in Pasadena, 102 in Burbank, 107 in Woodland Hills, 106 in Palmdale and 98 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, exceeding the record of 96 that was set in 1931.

A large south swell is bringing big surf and dangerous rip currents to Southern California beaches, with waves peaking at up to 10 feet Wednesday afternoon. A high surf advisory is in effect for the coast starting 5 p.m. Tuesday through 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Authorities are also warning of moderately high fire danger Wednesday as the air starts to dry out.

There is some relief in sight. The heat wave will be severe but short-lived as temperatures are expected to return to normal by Friday.

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: A surfer makes his way down a wave at the Wedge in Newport Beach, where storms brewing in the Southern Pacific are making their presence felt with high surf along the Southern California coastline. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times