Cool Spell to End 3-Day Run of Record Highs

Times Staff Writer

Southern California had its third consecutive day of record-setting hot weather Sunday, but the National Weather Service said the midwinter heat wave is about over.

Los Angeles was the hottest spot in the 48 contiguous states, with a Civic Center reading of 87 degrees. That temperature also broke the Jan. 12 record of 84 degrees (set in 1928), while San Diego's Lindbergh Field reported a high of 82, which topped the old mark of 80 (also set in 1928).

Relative humidity in downtown Los Angeles ranged from 33% overnight to just 13% by mid-afternoon as dry Santa Ana winds continued to blow in from the desert, but meteorologists said the air will be both damper and cooler today.

A few high clouds dappled Sunday's skies with little effect except to lend perspective, but the Weather Service said the clouds will lower and thicken overnight--and the winds will stop blowing from the east.

A Pacific storm is expected to bring rain to Central and Northern California today, and, while the Southland should see only the trailing edge of a cold front, there will be less sunshine, more moisture in the air, lower temperatures--and just a 20% chance of showers.

Meanwhile, thousands of Southern Californians enjoyed the last day of the summer-like weekend. Lifeguards reported about 300,000 people at beaches from Zuma to Newport--though only the few with wet suits seemed willing to do more than wade in the 58-degree water.

Mountain and desert resorts reported near-capacity bookings, but the California Highway Patrol said freeway traffic seemed both lighter and slower than usual for this time of year.

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