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Orange County

Heat Wave Sets Records in 2 Cities

Temperatures are the highest ever for the date in Newport and Laguna Beach. Yorba Linda is the county's hottest at 94 degrees.

March 09, 2004|Eric Malnic and David Haldane | Times Staff Writers

Temperature records shattered Monday as Southern California continued to simmer in a heat wave that forecasters said could last through the weekend, and maybe longer.

Readings in the upper 80s and low 90s broke records for the date in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, downtown Los Angeles, Burbank, Chatsworth, Long Beach, Pasadena, Oxnard, Simi Valley, Torrance, Ojai, Ventura and Palm Springs and at Los Angeles International Airport, Long Beach Airport and Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

The high temperature in Los Angeles was 93, almost 25 degrees above the normal high for the date and surpassing the previous record of 89, set in 1996.

Yorba Linda posted Orange County's highest temperature at 94. And in Laguna Beach, the mercury climbed to 90.

The heat sent Southern Californians flocking to the beaches in record numbers Sunday and Monday. The crowds in Huntington Beach were eight to 10 times their usual size for this time of year.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday March 16, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 51 words Type of Material: Correction
Yorba Linda temperature -- An article in some editions of the March 9 California section reported that the previous day's high temperature in Orange County was recorded in Yorba Linda at 94 degrees. Weather data provided to The Times show that the high temperature that day in Yorba Linda was 97.

"We had to call in extra lifeguards" to handle the 40,000-plus beachgoers, said Kai Weisser, a marine safety officer. "We were very busy. We had some rescues. We had some problems at dog beach -- too many people, too many dogs."

At Seal Beach, which also saw unseasonably large crowds, most stayed out of the chilly water.

"It's been summer-like crowds on the beach," lifeguard captain Ross Pound said, "but not so much in the water. We do have some brave souls going in -- mostly surfers wearing wetsuits."

The National Weather Service said it could be almost as hot again today, and although a slight cooling trend is expected by Wednesday, temperatures should remain above normal into early next week, with no rain in sight.

In the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains Monday, skiers basked in temperatures in the 50s on fast-melting snow from last week's wintry storms. In San Diego County, animals sought shade at the Wild Animal Park, where the top reading of 98 was one of the highest in the nation. In San Francisco, a high of 82 broke the 112-year-old record of 78.

The National Weather Service said heat is being generated by a pair of high-pressure weather systems, one parked off the coast of Northern California and the other over Idaho. The high pressure is blocking the onshore flow of cool, moist air from the northern Pacific, and winds circulating clockwise around the highs are warming and drying out as they sweep down coastal canyons to the sea.

The weather began to heat up Sunday, with readings of 87 in downtown Los Angeles and Burbank, 89 in Camarillo, 91 in Fullerton and 92 in Pico Rivera. Santa Ana, with a top reading of 93, was the hottest place in the contiguous 48 states Sunday.

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