Southern California's temperatures should remain nearly as torrid as a lover's passion throughout much of the Valentine's Day weekend, due to a sizzling heat spell that continued to break temperature records across the state Thursday.
Although the mercury is due to dip slightly to the mid-70s on Saturday, forecasters said, it should shoot back up to the 80s on Cupid's day, Sunday.
For the second consecutive day, the hottest city in the continental United States was San Juan Capistrano, which recorded 89 degrees Thursday, the National Weather Service said.
And at the Los Angeles Civic Center, where record highs were set both Tuesday and Wednesday, the high temperature Thursday was 85, only 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.
"I'm going to Hawaii Monday, so I'm trying to get some color," explained Manhattan Beach hair stylist Karen June, who, between customers, stretched out on a beach chair on the pavement along Highland Avenue beside the Tonsorial Parlor barber shop.
June, in her white bikini top and black shorts, summed it up: "It's a totally perfect day."
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.
Wind gusts could reach 45 m.p.h. in the mountains and through some coastal canyons and passes. But winds should blow no swifter than 10 to 20 m.p.h. in the Los Angeles Basin.
Tonight, 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.