Stow the sleigh bells.
Leave the woollies in the cedar chest and forget the earmuffs. There will be no nip in the air this Christmas season--at least not in Southern California, where moderate Santa Ana winds have been keeping temperatures in the balmy high 70s and low 80s without a snowflake in sight.
Even though a wide high-pressure area is showing signs of sliding eastward, allowing gusty northeast winds below the canyons to weaken slightly, most of the Southland should remain warm throughout the rest of the week, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.
For Christmas week itself, forecasters said, average Southland temperatures will be above normal for this time of the year. Little or no precipitation is expected, so it will be tough sledding for the giveaway artist in the red suit.
In Orange County, the warm winds, arriving the week before Christmas, caused temperatures along the coast to reach 80 degrees in Seal Beach.
Santa Ana reported a high of 84, just three degrees below the record established on the same day 20 years ago. Relative humidity ranged from 43% to 16%.
One Orange County lifeguard dubbed the December day as "crisp, sparkling . . . California's finest."
It should be mostly clear through Thursday, but there might be some local fog near the beaches Thursday morning. Gusty winds up to 25 m.p.h. below the canyons are likely to diminish today. Coastal highs will be in the upper 70s and low 80s today.
Clear skies gave residents gorgeous views of snow-capped Mt. Baldy and snowy crests along the San Gabriel Mountains.
Inland, visitors to Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park wore shorts and T-shirts in contrast to rainy, foul weather just two weeks earlier, park spokesman Jim Hardiman said.
"It looks like summertime out here," Hardiman said.
Although the weather seemed perfect for jogging along the beach, lifeguards along Orange County's 42-mile coast said beach use was extremely light.
"During this time of year, most people are at the mall," said Richard Chew, lifeguard supervisor at San Clemente.
Chew proclaimed Tuesday a perfect day at the beach: "We had 35-mile-plus visibility. Warm weather. Very glassy water conditions with hardly any wind.
"We even saw several schools of porpoises heading south," he said.
The only drawback, lifeguards said, was the chilly ocean temperature of 57 degrees that prompted many surfers to don full wetsuits to ward off the cold.
Winds were about 9 knots at Dana Point, where only few boaters took advantage of sunny and clear weather and relatively small ocean swells. Lifeguards said the surf was running two to three feet.
In the Southern California mountains, days will be slightly warmer than they have been, with highs mostly in the middle to upper 50s. Peak readings will be in the 60s and low 70s in the northern deserts and in the 70s to low 80s in the southern deserts.