The Southern California inferno cooled Friday.
By 3 p.m., the high at the Los Angeles Civic Center had reached a mere 93 degrees--seven below the record for the date and a full 14 degrees below the record-breaking 107 of Thursday, the hottest day of the year in Los Angeles.
By 9 p.m., temperatures in the Los Angeles Basin dropped to the low 60s, with widely scattered thunderstorms.
California Highway Patrol Officer Shirley Gaines at the CHP's command center at Vermont Avenue and the Hollywood Freeway said "it's raining cats and dogs here. No accidents, but give 'em time."
Earlier Friday, from the beaches to rooftops to weather forecasters' offices, the reports were similar: "There's been a definite change," Los Angeles County Lifeguard Lt. Mark Lozano said in Hermosa Beach.
The bright sunshine and cloudless skies of Thursday were gone. Clouds and gentle winds dominated the day throughout much of the Southland, and the wind came from the ocean instead of the desert. By 2:30 p.m., it was 80 degrees in Hermosa Beach, said Lozano, who called it "a nice day."
Roofers in the San Gabriel Valley noticed a difference, too. On Thursday, crews had begged off from returning to work after their lunch breaks. But they willingly returned to their not-quite-as-hot perches on Friday, said Arleen Villa, officer manager of Azusa Roofing.
"It was definitely more tolerable," she said. "Today, at noon, the crews said (to) give them another job for the afternoon."
Nonetheless, records were set.
In San Diego, the National Weather Service reported that the noonday temperature of 89 tied the record high.
In Los Angeles, the record came on the low end of the spectrum. The low Friday was 73 degrees, up from a 69-degree record of 1971.
One reason it was cooler in some places, meteorologists said, was the brief rain reported in parts of the San Gabriel Valley and in some mountainous desert areas. A low-pressure system, pushing eastward over the Pacific Ocean, was largely responsible for the cloudier skies that also turned down the heat, said Stephanie Hunter of WeatherData Inc., which provides meteorological information to The Times.
This weather system likely will mean a slight warming trend, "but only by a degree or two," she said. "Nothing as dramatic as the last week."