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Los Angeles Wilts as Fall Heat Wave Makes Up for Cooler Summer

Los Angeles residents, no strangers to heat, broiled as the temperature hit a record 113 Fahrenheit. Schools canceled recess, firefighters aided heat-stroke victims and the public poured onto beaches to cool off.

Today’s peak in Los Angeles surpassed the previous mark of 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) set on June 26, 1990, Stuart Seto, a specialist with the National Weather Service, said in an interview -- the hottest day since record-keeping began in 1877.

“There’s hot, and then there’s hot,” said Byron Tyler, a resident walking in Hollywood after lunch. He shared a photo on his cell phone from a friend in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley, whose a car dashboard thermometer displayed 121 degrees. “Looking at that I don’t feel so bad.”

The early fall heat wave has produced two consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures, according to the Weather Service. Downtown Los Angeles will drop to the mid- to upper-90s tomorrow, Seto said. Valley areas will remain above 100 until Sept. 29, he said.

“We’ve gotten many calls today that are heat related -- heat exhaustion, heat strokes,” said Mike Brown, battalion chief at the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“I’ve been listening in on the calls that are coming in and it’s happening all over the map,” Brown said. “We’re busier today than we’ve been for a while.”

Beaches were busier than usual for a Monday as people sought to cool down, Brown said. Some motorists didn’t make it. Dispatch calls were running 14 percent higher compared to a typical Monday, said Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman for AAA Southern California.

Cars Overheat

“We’re averaging 2,000 calls an hour,” Spring said in an interview. “There are a lot of dead batteries because they tend to give up when they’re not in good shape in this kind of weather. Overheated vehicles, where belts and hoses aren’t doing their job.”

Tyler, a 47-year-old independent bookseller, said the unprecedented heat may persuade him to turn on the central air conditioning at home. It would be the first time in more than two years. As others did the same, the city’s Department of Water and Power advised residents to conserve energy to avoid overtaxing the grid.

“The power system is operating normally,” Carol Tucker, a spokeswoman for the department, said in an interview. “There’s currently no major outages that are heat related.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District canceled athletic events and other outdoor activities, invoking an “extreme caution” policy that is triggered when the temperature reaches 95 degrees or above, said Gayle Pollard-Terry, a spokeswoman.

Late Summer

The 617,000-student district, the nation’s second-largest, will continue the precautions tomorrow, Pollard-Terry said. Parents of elementary-school students are being asked to send their children to school either with a frozen bottle of water or a thermos of cold water, she said.

The heat wave follows a summer that was the second-coolest since at least 1944, according the Weather Service.

The past several days have made up for it, said Brent Toney, a 25-year-old actor who sat with a friend outside a Starbucks, drinking iced coffees to ward off the heat.

“We didn’t have much of a summer before,” Toney said. “Everyone who was complaining then is complaining now that we’re finally getting one.”

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