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August Lives Up to Reputation as Southland's Hottest Month

A persistent ridge of high pressure is getting stronger, blocking the flow of marine air. Daily high readings are just above average.

August 14, 2003|Eric Malnic | Times Staff Writer

This week's heat in the Southland isn't about to go away anytime soon. But that's not unusual.

August is always the hottest month of the year in Southern California, with an average high temperature in downtown Los Angeles of 84.8 degrees. The average so far this month is 86.1 degrees, but the National Weather Service says it is much too early to speculate on whether this August will be warmer than normal overall.

The thermometer at USC topped out at 91 degrees at 12:36 p.m. Wednesday, but that was still 11 degrees short of the record for the date of 102, set in 1994.

The all-time record for downtown Los Angeles, set on June 26, 1990, is 112.

Other highs Wednesday included 101 in Burbank, 100 in Monrovia, 99 in Pasadena, 96 in Thousand Oaks, 94 in Anaheim, 86 in Laguna Beach, 83 in Culver City and 75 in Ventura.

A few records have been matched or broken in the last couple of weeks. On Monday, for example, it was 102 in Simi Valley, which tied the record for the date set in 1994.

But there isn't anything that remarkable about tying and breaking records, either.

The National Weather Service has been keeping them in Los Angeles only since 1877, a total of 126 years. Since there are 365 (or 366) days in a year, records for individual dates will be tied or broken an average of about three times every year.

Forecasters say a persistent ridge of high pressure is continuing to strengthen over California and Arizona this week, blocking the onshore flow of moist marine air that might otherwise cool things off.

High temperatures from the upper 70s to the 90s are expected along the coast and as far inland as downtown Los Angeles through early next week, with top readings well into the 100s in the inland valleys of Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties.

That is more or less normal for this time of year. If it seems unusually hot right now, that may be because last August was unusually cool, with an average high temperature in downtown Los Angeles of 81.5.

There even was a short spate of "June gloom" last August, with misty sprinkles and high temperatures in the 60s near the coast.

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