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Heat wave crashes San Diego winter

People at the beach in Oceanside.jpg
Tania Thorne / KPBS
People walking on the beach in Oceanside on Feb. 10, 2022.

Fresno resident Kristin Lucas took her family on a vacation to Oceanside. They were expecting to visit the beach, but still packed warmer clothes.

What they weren’t expecting was the hot, windy weather San Diego is currently experiencing.

“Its a lot warmer than what we thought it would be, but it's beautiful,” she said.

Heat wave crashes San Diego winter

Also at the beach, Helen Britton and her friends were going out to lunch. “Last week I had my heater going," she said, and I had to run out yesterday and go to the garage and get my fan, so now they are right next to each other."

National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy said Britton might need to keep both her fan and heater nearby.

“Is it winter? It's one of those things that you have to pinch yourself after yesterday's heat," he said. "Record high 85 in San Diego today, expecting even hotter along the coast. This is very rare. We’re talking temperatures 20 to almost 30 degrees above their averages for February."

Tardy said the heat wave was caused by a strong Santa Ana wind combining with a dome of hot air along the Pacific coast.

Although there is no red flag warning in San Diego, Tardy said the longer we go without rain, the closer we get to fire danger.

“Our fire weather threat is definitely real. I think that is extremely evident with what just happened in Laguna Beach, with a brush fire erupting near homes,” he said.

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Orange County authorities said the hot temperatures and strong winds helped fuel the blaze that is being dubbed the Emerald fire. It’s burning near a gated community with multimillion dollar homes.

Firefighters have been able to slow the spread and evacuation orders have been lifted.

Heat wave crashes San Diego winter

Tardy said some relief is on the way as colder temperatures make a comeback next week.

“Drastically colder next Tuesday-Wednesday, all areas. Mountains ... everywhere,” he said.