Southland's Hot Spell About to End; Storm Expected Sunday


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Above-normal temperatures will persist today on the final day of day of the region's hot spell, with considerably cooler temperatures expected Saturday and Sunday, when rain will douse the region as a result of a relatively weak storm out of the Gulf of Alaska, forecasters said.

The storm is expected to make its way to soutwestern Canada tonight, then drop down the coast, striking the Southland on Sunday, said Onard-based National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Bruno.

Thursday's temperatures were especially high, setting records for a February 27 at LAX (86 degrees), Long Beach (84), and tying two others, in Downtown L.A. (86), and UCLA (83).

Warm temperatures during Southland winters are not unheard of, said Bruno. But he said how quickly the weather will turn is a little unusual, noting that Sunday's highs will be up to 24 degrees lower than Thursday's. At the same time, the snow level could drop to around 3,000 feet Sunday, he said. One factor in the transformation is that the warm offshore winds the region has been experiencing will be replaced by onshore winds Saturday, forecasters said.

Today's highs, though lower than Thursday's, will still be around 10- 12 degrees higher than normal, but are not expected to produce any records, said Oxnard-based National Weather Service meteorologist Curt Kaplan.

Sunday's storm will generally produce between a tenth of an inch and a quarter-inch of rain, Kaplan said.

“This is not going to be a very wet system,” he said, adding that there is virtually no chance of mudslides or debris flows, even over slopes denuded by wildfires, even given the 20 percent chance of thunderstorms Sunday.

But some mountain roads could become wind-swept and icy, he said.

The NWS forecast mostly cloudy skies in L.A. County today and highs of 69 on Mount Wilson; 76 in Avalon, Palmdale and Lancaster; 78 at LAX; 81 in Saugus; 82 in Long Beach; 83 in Downtown L.A. and Burbank; 84 in San Gabriel and Woodland Hills; and 85 in Pasadena. Saturday's highs under partly cloudy skies will be up to 14 degrees cooler, then up to another 16 degrees lower amid rain and, in the San Gabriel mountains, snow showers. On Monday, temperatures will begin ramping up again amid sunny skies.

Partly cloudy skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 63 on Santiago Peak; 73 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet and in Laguna Beach; 74 in Newport Beach and San Clemente; 78 at Fremont Canyon; 81 at Trabuco Canyon; 82 in Mission Viejo; 83 in Yorba Linda; 84 in Irvine; and 85 in Anaheim and Fullerton. Saturday's highs will be up to 14 degrees lower amid a misture of sunny and partly cloudy skies, then fall by up to another 8 degrees on Sunday before beginning a warming trend amid sunny skies on Monday.

Photo: Getty Images

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