Warm weather is expected to continue through the weekend and into next week -- and could break even more records before the hot spell is through, weather officials said.
The mercury hit 83 degrees in Long Beach, beating the 1972 high of 81 degrees.
In downtown Los Angeles, temperatures reached 82 degrees, making it the second warmest Christmas Day since records began in 1877 and well above the seasonal average of 67 degrees. The record was set in 1980 with a high of 85 downtown.
Hot holiday seasons are not uncommon.
"There are many years where I can remember wearing shorts and a tank top on Christmas," said Bonnie Bartling of the National Weather Service. "When you have these Santa Ana events, it just warms up."
But this season has been noteworthy for the sudden shifts from hot to cold temperatures.
"We've been flip-flopping a lot this winter," Bartling said.
This hot spell could break more records. The forecast for Burbank on Thursday is 82 degrees, one degree short of the record high set in 1947.
A red flag warning will remain in effect until at least 6 p.m. Thursday for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters there say that moderate to strong Santa Ana winds will continue across the mountains as well as nearby coastal and valley areas.
The strongest winds were expected late Wednesday and Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service, and were expected to reach gusts of 40 miles per hour “although gusty winds will continue through late Thursday afternoon,” the weather service said.
Temperatures were also forecast to be above normal and humidity relatively low.
“If fire ignition occurs … there would be the potential for rapid wildfire spread that could threaten life and property,” the NWS said on a red flag alert.
A wind advisory is in effect for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties through Thursday afternoon as gusty northeast winds are forecast.
[For the record, 8:06 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 26 : An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that it hit 85 degrees in Long Beach. The temperature peaked at 83 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.]