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Heat Wave Brings Record Temperatures To San Diego

Photo by Susan Murphy

Hundreds of people fled to La Jolla shores for relief from hot temperatures, Sunday, March 15, 2015.

A heat wave that gripped San Diego from Friday through Sunday, the last weekend of winter, shattered previous daytime high temperatures by as much as 9 degrees.

A heat wave that gripped San Diego from Friday through Sunday, the last weekend of winter, shattered previous daytime high temperatures by as much as 9 degrees.

Temperatures soared across the county into the 80s and 90s, surpassing the normal mid-March daytime high temperature of 67 degrees.

San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, the city’s primary weather monitoring site, set new highs all three days, according to the National Weather Service:

Sunday’s thermometer reached 89 degrees, beating the previous record of 80 degrees set in 1978.

Saturday hit the 90-degree mark, surpassing the old record of 83 degrees from 1951.

On Friday, the temperature reached 89 degrees, beating the old record of 87, which was recorded in 1994.

The summer-like temperatures, that are expected to begin breaking down on Monday, are result of a strong high-pressure system and mild Santa Ana winds.

"I think what we’re experiencing is in large part natural variability, but it’s also partly driven by the fact that the globe is warming," said Alexander Gershunov, a research meteorologist with Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Gershunov said the world is warming non-uniformly.

“Polar regions are warming more than the tropics and that tends to change mid-latitude circulation and make storm treks migrate a little bit further poleward."

He said the West has been warming stronger and more consistently than other regions of the country.

“That warming has been the strongest in spring, and so the Santa Ana events that basically blow air from the Great Basin down to sea level … they start out warmer and they end up warmer at the coast.”

Gershunov, who recently published a study on heat waves, said the weekend heat is consistent with a pattern that has persisted for more than a year.

January was 4 degrees above average, and February was nearly 5 degrees above average, according to data from the National Weather Service.

Last year was San Diego’s warmest year on record, with the average combined high and low temperature topping off at 4 degrees above normal. Almost every day of 2014, with the exception of a mere 24 days, was warmer than average.

Monday is expected to be another warm day. Highs will be 77 to 82 degrees near the coast, 83 to 88 inland, 84 to 89 in the western valleys, 80 to 85 near the foothills, 72 to 79 in the mountains and 86 to 91 in the deserts. A cooling trend is set to go into effect Tuesday through Thursday.

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