Torrid temperatures that made the past several days just about unbearable for an already shaken Southern California finally began easing Monday, and forecasters said cooler weather is in store for the rest of the week at least.
After two straight days of record-breaking 108-degree highs at the Los Angeles Civic Center, Monday's maximum was a comparatively comfortable 95, after an overnight low that never got below 71.
The National Weather Service said the cooling trend along the coast should reach the valleys by today, with "cooling in all areas Wednesday."
Janice Roth, meteorologist for WeatherData, which provides forecasts for The Times, said the surface trough along the coast, which had allowed high pressure aloft to push hot winds down-slope from the deserts, will move eastward today.
This, she said, will allow the winds at upper levels to switch around and come in from the southwest, increasing the marine layer and bringing cooler air, with "normal temperatures moving into the area."
The Los Angeles area forecast for today is early morning low clouds and local dense fog near the coast; otherwise hazy sunshine with high temperatures in the mid-80s. The valleys will have highs from 85 to 98.
By Wednesday, the National Weather Service said, coastal highs should be about 80.
The fog bank was already settling in offshore Monday, causing numerous problems for small boat operators, the Coast Guard said. There were no life-threatening emergencies reported, however.
It was still hot enough in most California locations on Monday. In Northern California, San Francisco had its hottest day on record with 102 degrees. The previous record, 101, was reached on Sept. 14, 1971.
Monterey also recorded a new all-time high: 104. San Jose set a record for an October day with 101. Salinas had a scorching 105. Sacramento had 102 for the third straight day.
Blythe recorded 108 degrees; Long Beach had a mild 84; Monrovia had 99; Needles, 106; Ontario, 101; Palm Springs, 111; Pasadena, 93; Paso Robles, 104; Riverside, 98; Sacramento, 98; Santa Maria, 102, and Torrance, 97.
Breathing was no treat during the day, either. The South Coast Air Quality Management District called first-stage smog alerts--meaning the air was unhealthful for everyone--in the eastern San Fernando Valley and in parts of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino valleys.