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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Valleywide

Chatsworth Ties High for Day; Woodland Hills at 96

April 19, 1999|ART MARROQUIN and ANDREW BLANKSTEIN

It was still spring on the calendar, but the thermometers told a different tale Sunday, as people across the San Fernando Valley cranked their air conditioners, fired up barbecues and loaded up on cold drinks to beat unseasonable summer-like heat.

Just a week ago, umbrellas and heaters were de rigeur as an inch of cold rain soaked the region. A record low temperature of 26 was recorded in Lancaster on April 10.

Maurico Pleitez, manager of the Jamba Juice in Woodland Hills, marveled at Mother Nature's capriciousness. A trickle last week, his business heated up with the weather and he expected to sell about 1,000 fruit smoothies Sunday.

"We're keeping pretty busy, but I've got a hard-working and enthusiastic crew," Pleitez said. "Of course, we would rather be out there enjoying the weather."

But many like Oriya Pasandi, 15, of West Hills were heading indoors after getting a brief taste of the heat.

"I'm just trying to stay cool in the pool and keeping the air conditioner on in the car," she said. "It's nice weather, but it's too hot."

By early evening, three area cities had tied or broken record high temperatures for the day, said Jonathan Slemmer, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Chatsworth tied its record temperature of 95, set in 1980. Over the county line, Simi Valley hit 92 Sunday afternoon, breaking the 90-degree record set in 1980. Pasadena reached 95 degrees, shattering a 60-year-old record of 92.

But the hottest spot in the area was Woodland Hills, where the mercury reached 96 degrees.

At Serrania Avenue Park in Woodland Hills it was quiet as many residents shunned the outdoors for the comforts of home. Those who ventured out didn't stay for long.

"I'm too pooped out to play with her," said Joyce Robinson, who sipped lemonade and fanned herself as she watched her 5-year-old granddaughter climb a jungle gym.

"I'm just letting her run around until she gets tired."

But along Zoo Drive in Griffith Park dozens of families gathered for picnics under the cooling shade of large oak and eucalyptus trees.

Valley residents will find a break from the heat as a cooling trend is expected to bring temperatures down to the mid-80s today and to the upper 70s and low 80s on Tuesday.

However, the mercury should rise again by the end of the week and temperatures may return to the 90s, Slemmer said.

At a Coffee Bean in Burbank, Carmen Arreola, 24, of Eagle Rock seemed to be speaking for many when she asked, "What happened to spring?"

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