LOS ANGELES – California is sweltering under a dangerous heat wave Labor Day weekend that was spreading triple-digit temperatures over much of the state, raising concerns about power outages and the spread of the coronavirus as throngs of people packed beaches and mountains for relief.
Death Valley hit a record-high temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit (52 Celsius) Saturday, eclipsing the previous record of 119 Fahrenheit (48 Celsius) set in 2017, according to the National Weather Service.
One death was reported because of the heat. Malibu Search and Rescue tweeted that a hiker died of the heat while on a trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. Because of the heat, all hiking trails in the mountains will be closed through Labor Day, the agency said.
“PLEASE DO NOT #HIKE IN THIS #HEATWAVE," Malibu Search and Rescue tweeted.
Officials urged people to conserve electricity to ease strain on the state's power grid and to follow distancing and mask requirements when they hit recreational areas.
Numerous parking lots to San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles County beaches closed after they filled to capacity and lifeguards reported seeing large crowds.
“Very busy conditions. The beaches are packed wall to wall,” Orange County Lifeguards Capt. Brad Herzog said.
“Holiday weekends are very busy at our beaches. But we're probably a notch or two busier because of the heat wave,” he said.