Clear skies and record heat persist in drought-stricken Southland

Clear skies and record heat persist in drought-racked Southland

In the final days of an unusually warm March, parts of Southern California are seeing record heat and strong rip currents, weather officials said Sunday.

A swell from the Southern Hemisphere is bringing frequent rip currents and elevated surf – along with the risk of so-called “sneaker” waves that can sweep swimmers into the ocean - according to the National Weather Service.

The potentially dangerous seas come as warmer temperatures draw more beach-goers.

At 88 degrees, Woodland Hills was the hottest point in Los Angeles County, and Lancaster and Palmdale each reached 87 degrees, breaking record highs set in 1969, according to the weather service.

The early spring heat wave came from a high-pressure system overhead and the Santa Ana winds from last week, said National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sukup.

But relief is in sight: by late Monday and Tuesday, temperatures should return to the mid-70s, with coastal areas seeing 70.

From Tuesday onward, strong northerly winds are expected to blow through the 5 Freeway corridor and the Antelope Valley, Sukup said.

No rain is forecast in Southern California for the next week -- grim news as the state grapples with shrinking snow packs and an ever-worsening drought -- and the higher-than-normal temperatures are expected to resume in the first full week of April, Sukup said.

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