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94-degree heat breaks 95-year-old downtown L.A. weather record

Long Beach, UCLA and LAX records were also broken by unseasonably warm weather that meteorologists attribute to Santa Ana winds blowing in from the desert. Monday may be even hotter.

April 20, 2009|Corina Knoll

Eddie Saade said he couldn't stand the 50-degree weather that chilled his home in Hollywood last week, so he turned on the heater. On Sunday, the 25-year-old laughed at that memory as he sat on the beach in Santa Monica, sweltering in Southern California's record-breaking heat.

While beachgoers enjoyed temperatures in the 80s, downtown Los Angeles rose to a toasty 94 degrees, up two degrees from the previous high, which was set in 1914. Other records were broken across the Southland, including in Long Beach (97 degrees), at UCLA (92 degrees) and Los Angeles International Airport (87 degrees), courtesy of unseasonable Santa Ana winds that blew into Southern California from Nevada, said meteorologist David Gomberg of the National Weather Service.

"Typically, we get wind coming off the ocean and that's what keeps us so mild," he said. "The reason everything's so dry right now is because the winds are coming from the desert air mass, meaning that it originates over land."

Santa Ana winds are most often associated with the brush fires of the fall and winter months, so their current appearance is unusual.

"Sometimes even if you don't get the winds, you'll feel the effects of the warmth," Gomberg said.

And while Sunday was a scorcher, additional heat records are expected to be broken today, particularly in the warmer inland valleys. Gomberg advised those planning to soak up the sun to stay hydrated and abstain from vigorous outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Those who hope to escape to the sand today may fare better than the hundreds of people Sunday who found themselves caught in gridlock caused by a repaving project that closed streets between the 10 Freeway and the Santa Monica Pier.

For Saade, though, the bumper-to-bumper traffic he endured for 90 minutes was worth the opportunity to sit with friends beside the ocean.

"It feels like a mini vacation," he said.

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corina.knoll@latimes.com

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