Santa Barbara County faces extreme high temperatures this weekend as a high-pressure system moves into the area, according to the National Weather Service.
An excessive heat watch has been issued for the mountain areas of Santa Barbara County, where temperatures could reach 108 degrees, said Stuart Seto, weather specialist with the National Weather Service.
Although the heat watch is only for the mountain areas, Seto said, temperatures around the county are expected to be significantly higher than normal through next Wednesday, most likely peaking Saturday and Sunday when the center of the high-pressure area reaches the coast.
“Over the weekend, temperatures could approach record levels,” Seto said. “It’s forecasted to reach 90 degrees in the city of Santa Barbara on Saturday.”
Highs are expected in the mid- to upper-80s in local coastal areas, and in the mid- to upper-90s in some inland locations. Overnight lows are expected to be in the low- to mid-60s.
Wind gusts to 25 mph are possible Friday night.
The scorching temperatures bring an increased risk of heat-related illnesses, said engineer Russell Sechler of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
“There are medical conditions that occur from lack of drinking water, staying in the sun too long or over-exercising,” Sechler said.
People who plan to be outdoors this week should also be prepared to deal with the heat by drinking a lot of water, resting in the shade when feeling discomfort, and maintaining lines of communication in case a 9-1-1 call becomes necessary,” Sechler said.
Rising temperatures also increase the likelihood of wildfires, Sechler noted.
“When you have high temps, low humidity, and high winds, that’s when your potential for fire hazards is the highest,” Sechler said.
Many parts of Santa Barbara County experienced less than half the average rainfall this year, and it is especially important that people take necessary precautions.
Secheler recommended that people working with torches, or other tools that could spark a fire, work in the early mornings when the ground is still damp or use a shovel to clear brush from around their worksite.
“People should avoid smoking around dry grass, only have campfires in designated areas, and never leave them unattended,” Sechler said.