Downtown Los Angeles and 13 other Southern California cities just went through their warmest March since record-keeping began in 1877, according to the National Weather Service.
In downtown Los Angeles, the average temperature was 68.2, 2.2 degrees higher than the previous record of 66 in March 1931. The official record includes temperature averages for 138 Marches.
The average high temperature last month was 79.1 degrees, beating the previous record of 76 set in 1931.
Temperatures reached 90 or higher on six days, which is a record for any March. The previous record of three days was set in 1934, 1988 and 1997.
Another first for downtown Los Angeles was the record of having four consecutive days with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. The previous record was three days and it was set in 1934 and 1988.
Last month’s heat streak not only placed March 2015 in the record books, but the weather service also logged 61 record high temperatures and 64 high minimum temperatures.
In Los Angeles County, seven cities, including downtown Los Angeles, experienced their warmest March on record. Seven cities in Ventura County also had a record-setting March.
The latest records come as California enters its fourth year of drought, forcing Gov. Jerry Brown to take drastic measures to cut water usage in the state.
Brown called for a first-ever mandatory water usage cut of 25% in California. The mandatory measure came a day after water officials measured the lowest April 1 snowpack recorded in the Sierra Nevada.
Dry and parched conditions in California remained unchanged this week, but officials say cool and wetter-than-normal weather is ahead next week.
In the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, the six- to 10-day outlook indicates rain could drench communities along the Pacific coast, including California.
Eric Luebehusen, a meteorologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said temperatures were more than 10 degrees above normal this week and stream flows have dropped into the fifth percentile or lower for much of California.
“In addition, the 2014-15 Water Year has ended on an abysmal note, with precipitation over the past 30 days totaling a mere 10% of normal or less from Redding southward,” he said. “Even with some precipitation in the forecast across Central and Northern California, any rain and mountain snow – while welcomed – would likely do little to improve the state’s dire drought prospects.”
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