The mercury soared to 89 in San Juan Capistrano on Thursday, setting a county record for the third consecutive day as forecasters predicted more torrid temperatures for the Valentine's weekend.
The 89-degree reading in the south county beat the previous high of 88 for the same date in 1971. San Juan Capistrano also recorded the highest temperature in the nation for the second consecutive day. Santa Ana and Fullerton both hit 85 degrees, and Mission Viejo reached 82.
On Wednesday, the 92 reading in San Juan Capistrano broke the previous record of 88, also set in 1971. And on Tuesday the record high of 78, set in 1907, was broken by the 83 recorded in Santa Ana.
The forecast for today calls for more 80-degree temperatures. And although the mercury is due to dip slightly to the mid-70s on Saturday, forecasters said, it should jump back up to the 80s on Valentine's Day, Sunday.
The continuing heat wave set records in several spots across the state. On Thursday, San Diego had a record high of 83, beating by two degrees the former mark for the date set in 1907.
In San Francisco, the thermometer checked in at 72 degrees, besting the previous mark of 70 set all the way back in 1889.
At the Los Angeles Civic Center, where record highs were set both Tuesday and Wednesday, the high temperature Thursday was 85, three degrees below the record set in 1971. The overnight low recorded Thursday at the Civic Center was 55 degrees. Relative humidity ranged from 11% to 47%.
As has been the case all week, the sunny skies and scorching heat brought thousands of sun worshipers flocking to the sea and sand or, in some cases where work prevented it, the sidewalk.
Similar weather conditions, with highs in the mid-80s, are expected today, as Santa Ana winds continue to blow warm air toward the ocean, forecasters said. All this is attributed to a persistent area of high pressure over Nevada, they said.
Winds to Slacken
Wind gusts could reach 45 m.p.h. in the mountains and through some coastal canyons and passes. But winds should blow no higher than 10 m.p.h. to 20 m.p.h. in the Los Angeles basin.
Tonight the winds are expected to weaken as a strong weather system over the Pacific Ocean moves east, bringing cooler air from the upper atmosphere.
Still, temperatures should remain in the mid-70s on Saturday, about 10 degrees above normal, according to Dan Bowman of WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times.
On Sunday, the mercury should climb back into the 80s as the high pressure system reasserts itself.
"It should be a real nice weekend," said Bowman, whose offices are located in chilly Wichita, Kan. "I'd gladly trade you."