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L.A. Area Bakes for 2nd Day Straight

Record temperatures are expected to drop 40 degrees this week as high-pressure systems dissipate.

March 30, 2004|Eric Malnic | Times Staff Writer

Southern California simmered through its second consecutive day of record heat Monday, but forecasters said a dramatic change is expected, beginning today.

The high temperature in Simi Valley on Monday was 96 degrees, breaking by 6 degrees the record for March 29, set in 1971. Other record highs included 94 in Woodland Hills; 93 in Chatsworth; 91 in Burbank, Long Beach, Oxnard, Torrance and Pasadena; and 89 at Los Angeles International Airport.

Temperatures were expected to plunge, with coastal valley highs in the 60s and 70s today and in the 50s and 60s Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Weather service meteorologist Tim McClung said the hot weather Sunday and Monday was caused by two high-pressure systems over Idaho and Utah that blocked the normal onshore flow of cool, moist air from the Pacific.

On Sunday, Woodland Hills and Long Beach had record highs of 92 for the date. It was 91 in Chatsworth, 89 in Pasadena and 88 in Burbank, all 1 degree above the previous records for the date. Santa Ana and Yorba Linda were the hottest spots in the contiguous 48 states, with top readings of 95.

Monday was even hotter. In addition to at least nine records, top readings included 97 at UC Riverside, 96 in Santa Ana and 95 in Yorba Linda. It was 94 in downtown Los Angeles, well below the record for the date of 99, set in 1879.

Air conditioning use soared Monday afternoon, and power officials issued a Stage One alert, urging Southern Californians not to use heavy appliances during the afternoon.

Stage One alerts are issued by the California Independent System Operator whenever electricity reserves fall below 7%.

On Monday, even though two major generating facilities were temporarily off line, reserves remained above 5%, said Stephanie McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit public corporation. The warm weather drew about 100,000 people to beaches from Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro to Marina del Rey, Los Angeles County lifeguards said.

The Los Angeles chapter of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warned pet owners to provide plenty of cool water and shade for animals in their care.

McClung said the high-pressure systems would start breaking down overnight, with the return of a cool, onshore flow by this morning.

Temperatures in many communities are expected to be up to 20 degrees cooler today and an additional 15 to 20 degrees cooler Wednesday.

Partly cloudy skies and highs in the 60s and 70s were forecast for Thursday through the weekend, with no rain expected.

Total rainfall in Los Angeles for the season, which runs from July 1 through June 30, is 9.21 inches, about two-thirds the normal for this time of year.

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