Southern California's autumn heat wave began to come apart at the seams Thursday, and the National Weather Service said we have seen the last of Santa Ana winds and soaring temperatures for a while. The coming weekend should be cooler and rather wet at times.
The high temperature in Santa Ana was 77 degrees, five degrees cooler than Wednesday and 13 less than the record 90 reached on Tuesday.
Los Angeles also recorded 77 degrees Thursday--about 10 degrees cooler than the average for the previous three days--with relative humidity ranging between 31% and 57%, and forecasters predicted today will be another five degrees cooler.
A storm system, forecasters explained, is moving down from the Gulf of Alaska.
It is gathering strength as it approaches the Pacific Northwest coastal area and will bring typical winter conditions as its edge moves into California during the weekend: increasing night and morning cloudiness along the coast, with snow in the mountains, high wind and a chance of showers in the deserts, and a 60% chance of showers by Saturday in Los Angeles.
Beach weather will be marginal: The Weather Service said there will be clouds today and probable showers by Saturday, surf running two to three feet in most places, water temperature and air temperature both in the low 60s, and not much prospect of change until Tuesday.
Inner coastal waters from Point Conception to the Mexican border were expected to see south to southwest winds freshening to 16 knots by this afternoon with a westerly swell to two feet, while yachtsmen venturing farther from shore were told to look for winds south to southeast at 12 to 22 knots and four-foot combined seas.
Southern California's mountains were expecting a temperature range from the 20s to the 50s at resort levels with showers beginning Saturday and a snow level holding at about 8,000 feet. In the Sierra, a storm watch was in effect for higher elevations around Lake Tahoe beginning tonight, with the snow level dropping to 6,000 feet by Saturday morning and motorists warned not to venture into the area without chains.
Deserts were expecting south to southwest winds rising to 30 m.p.h. at times today and Saturday, with a good chance of showers Saturday and afternoon temperatures ranging from the mid-70s in the high desert to the mid-80s in the low desert.
Showers in Arizona
Variable cloudiness, shifting winds and a chance of scattered showers were forecast for the mountains of Arizona Saturday, with mountain temperatures ranging from freezing to the mid-50s, while deserts were expecting a few clouds with afternoon temperatures to the 80s in the deserts.
Las Vegas, too, was expecting a few showers over the weekend, with gusty winds, clouds and temperatures to the mid-60s.
Forecasters predicted plenty of fog and low cloudiness for San Francisco, with a 30% chance of showers by this morning and a 60% chance of rain Saturday, tapering off to an occasional mist by Sunday.