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With Sea Breeze Cut Off, Temperatures Soar

September 02, 2002|RICHARD MAROSI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A potent high-pressure system cut off the air-cooling Southern California sea breezes Sunday, sending temperatures soaring across the Southland.

Triple-digit readings were recorded from the San Fernando Valley to San Bernardino County, with record highs for the day set in Chatsworth, 111, and Riverside, 112.

Forecasters said scorching weather was not unusual for this time of year, and expected more heat before a cooling trend and possible showers later this week.

Forecasters said a high-pressure system hovering over the Nevada-Arizona border was responsible for the heat wave.

"This high pressure is bringing in some good hot temperatures," said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist for the National Weather Service.

"The unusual thing about this high pressure is that it is off to the Southwest ... and it's cutting off our sea breeze."

Some Labor Day weekend early birds awoke to temperatures in the 90s. By midafternoon, it was 107 in Burbank, 106 in Van Nuys, 101 in Lancaster and 94 in Long Beach.

Sunday's top reading of 101 degrees in downtown Los Angeles was nine degrees below the record for the date, set in 1955.

People seeking relief flocked to parks and beaches across the region.

Crowds estimated at 200,000 visited beaches from San Pedro to Marina del Rey--the biggest turnout of the year.

"It's been a beautiful day, and busy," said David Story, a lifeguard captain for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

"It's not the hottest day, but the combination of the weather and the holiday is giving us the biggest crowds of the season."

In Orange County, a 38-year-old man from the Foothill Ranch area apparently died of heat-related problems while hiking in 109-degree heat at Modjeska Canyon.

The hiker, Michael Curtin, was found by a mountain biker near Modjeska Grade Road and Santiago Truck Trail at 1:20 p.m.

The bicyclist, who is a physician, tried to revive him but was unsuccessful, authorities said.

He "tried to do what he could but he passed away," said Sheriff's Lt. Dave Wilson. "He had a bottle of water with him but he still passed away."

Forecasters expect slightly lower temperatures today, and about a 10-degree cooling trend starting Tuesday.

By Wednesday, a low-pressure system could bring showers, forecasters said.

*

Times staff writer Jennifer Mena contributed to this report.

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