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We're havin' a heat wave

High temperatures unusual but not unprecedented

Posted: April 20, 2009 10:35 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Santa Clarita Valley residents are enduring summer-like temperatures that weather officials trace back to a ridge of high pressure that has settled in above the northern plains states.

"The high pressure leads to very warm, dry conditions, which is what we're going through right now," said John Makevich, a College of the Canyons instructor.

The majority of that hot air is coming from the Inland Empire, which tends to be very warm because it's coming from a desert, rather than from an ocean, said Makevich, who teaches earth science and geology at the community college.

Additionally, high pressure, by its nature, compresses the air and compression always heat things up, he said.

The Southern California heat wave stretched from Sunday into Monday and is expected to last through today, said Stuart Seto, weather specialist for The National Weather Service.

But the 90-degree temperatures will taper off Wednesday and into the rest of the week.

"We're going to see some pretty good cooling," Seto said.

By Thursday, temperatures will dip to the 70s, the National Weather Service predicts.

Makevich considers April to be what he calls "a transition month." Temperatures could fluctuate quite often, he said.

While the Santa Clarita Valley usually sees cooler weather this time of year, "It's not completely unusual for something like this to happen," he said.

In the meantime, the temperatures are rising.

"We are setting some pretty good records," Seto, said.

The National Weather Service forecast record heat Monday and posted a heat advisory along the coast from San Francisco Bay south to Big Sur.

Thermometers registered record highs Sunday across Southern California.

The weather service said Santa Ana hit 101 degrees, erasing a record that had stood since 1916. A 94-degree reading in downtown Los Angeles broke a 95-year-old record.

Other records Sunday included 100 degrees in Fullerton; 97 in Long Beach; 96 in San Gabriel, Camarillo and Oxnard; and 95 in Paso Robles.

The heat sent an estimated 250,000 people to Los Angeles County's southern beaches Sunday and other beaches also had huge crowds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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