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Western U.S. | Update

Record-breaking temperatures bake parched SoCal this week

Staff Writers

Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 8:00 - The heat is on this week over the Southwest, and Southern California will be no exception, as high temperatures climb into record territory, even along the coast.

High pressure overhead will send the jet stream north and keep skies sunny, meaning hot days ahead over the region. Combined with the very dry winter SoCal has been seeing so far, this warm spell has officials on the alert for the potential sparking of new wildfires. In a bit of good news, however, red flag warnings dropped off through Monday afternoon and evening as Santa Ana winds diminished.

Be weather aware | Our Alerts page for California

Weather highlights:

  • Record high temperatures again expected on Tuesday
  • Highs around 10 degrees above average continue through much of the week, though the heat retreats inland slightly
  • Temperatures dropping - but still above average - near the coast as Santa Ana winds fade and allow a return to light onshore breezes
  • The slight onshore flow will help diminish fire danger somewhat as the week goes on
  • Atmospheric ridge set to stay in place into next week; bad news for SoCal rain chances

Santa Ana winds that picked up on Sunday started to ease Monday afternoon, leading to most of the wind and red flag warnings being dropped across the region. Thankfully, despite the critical fire danger, actual brush fire reports were few and far between Sunday and Monday. At least one fire, in Malibu, burned through 3 acres in only a few hours early Sunday morning, but was quickly controlled by Los Angeles County fire officials. 

While light gusty conditions are expected to persist through canyons most of the mornings of this week, another Santa Ana event doesn't seem to be on the horizon in the short term.

Winds started to pick up Sunday morning through the mountains, pushing temperatures to the west through the LA Basin and down toward San Diego well above normal. Before noon, Long Beach, Oxnard, and Santa Ana had all cracked the 80 degree mark, with highs going on to climb into the mid-80s across the region for both Sunday and Monday. Sunday noontime temperatures saw some places already exceeding expectations as Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, and Fullerton all crept above 85. Monday was much the same, with Camp Pendleton already hitting 80 by 9 a.m., and may other stations in the mid-to-upper 70s. Through the afternoon, the Los Angeles NWS office reported half a dozen stations that had tied or exceeded their record highs for the day, with even some oceanside stations cracking the mid-to-upper 80s.


Temperatures stay high for most on Tuesday, albeit with a few degrees knocked off without the Santa Ana to fuel them. Spots along the coast, in particular, should see the return of afternoon sea breezes that will likely keep most spots out of record territory. That said, temperatures will still be running around 10 degrees above average for the next few days.

(Related: Eyes on San Andreas Fault as California tremors have residents pondering 'The Big One')

Much of the region has been seeing a drier-than-usual winter thus far, with only trace precipitation reported in what should have been the wet months of December and January. The Oxnard weather station has seen a paltry 0.4 inches of rain so far in January - the average for the month is about 2.5 inches - and reported nothing at all for December, bringing the deficit for the two months to more than 4 inches. And that's a story that is repeated at numerous stations across the area.

Unfortunately for the parched Southwest, long range model guidance suggests little change in the overall pattern for the west for at least the next week, meaning rain will continue to avoid most of the Golden State into early February.

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