A competitor escapes the fierce temperatures on land during the Surf City Dog Surf competition in Huntington Beach, California, on Sunday, 5 October 2014. Photo: Ana Venegas / AP

By Rory Carroll
6 October 2014

Los Angeles (theguardian.com) – “Stay safe!” went the mantra, as tens of thousands of cyclists zipped around Los Angeles this weekend for CicLAvia, an event to celebrate public spaces.

Fellow riders, pedestrians and police shouted it as much in greeting as exhortation since clearly the safest thing was to be indoors clutching an ice pack with your feet up and the air-conditioning blasting.

The danger, for once, was not motorists, or potholes, or muggers, but heat. Record, scalding temperatures fried the city and much of southern California with temperatures exceeding 100F, defying a calendar that said autumn.

Staying safe meant wearing a hat, drinking lots of water and seeking medical advice at the first sign of hallucinations. “Man oh man, hot!” howled one man, apparently happily, as he whizzed down the Broadway theatre district. A friend close behind mimicked the Wizard of Oz’s wicked witch: “Melting! I’m melting!”

The four-day furnace eased on Monday, with temperatures dropping to the low 90s, but another intense heatwave is due this weekend, bringing fresh risks of wildfires and power outages.

The San Fernando valley hit 104F (40C) on Saturday, making Pasadena’s 102F seem merciful, and Torrance’s 96F positively cool. Most Angelenos hunkered indoors, close to a fan or air-conditioning, or splashed in the sea, swimming pools and fountains. [more]

Summer’s over but heatwave pushes southern California towards meltdown

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