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Skies Promise a Postcard Weekend in the Southland

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After all that flooding, all those mudslides and all that rain, Southern California is finally going to get one of those warm, sunny winter weekends scripted by chambers of commerce and travel agents.

Forecasters say that skies will be clear, temperatures will peak in the low 80s and occasionally brisk zephyrs will waft away most of the smog. No rain is expected for at least the next 10 days, and with the statewide drought officially over, no one is worried about a spate of dry weather anymore.

“It’s all because of a huge high-pressure system that’s anchored over the West,” said Steve Burback, a meteorologist with WeatherData Inc. “That system is an effective block against any new storms from the Pacific, and it also provides clear skies and warm temperatures.”

However, one little problem is starting to surface. Allergists say that all that rain in January and February, followed by all this sunshine in early March, has meant an early blooming season that is causing a lot of sniffles.

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Dr. Jonathan Corren, director of the allergy clinic at UCLA, said hay fever cases are on the rise.

“When we have a lot of rain, the trees start blooming and everything starts blooming and it’s disasterville,” said Ellen Newhouse, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.

Southern California’s peak pollen season runs from March through June.

On Friday, David Burrows parked his RV and settled himself comfortably on Emma Wood Beach in Ventura to catch some of the first rays of a promising weekend.

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“I’m just taking the weekend off,” the Simi Valley communications worker said, peering up from the pages of his paperback. “It’s the first time this year.”

“Good weather always brings people out,” said Lynne Miller of the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The high temperature Friday at the Los Angeles Civic Center was 82 degrees, 13 degrees above the normal high for the date but five degrees below the record of 87, set in 1899. The rainfall for this season is 23.84 inches, compared to the normal season’s total of 11.41 inches for the date.

Burback said high temperatures today will range from the low 70s along the coast to the mid- and upper 80s in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys. Overnight lows will be from the mid-40s to the mid-50s. Burback said a gradual cooling trend will begin Sunday, with temperatures dropping a couple of degrees each day before starting to rise Wednesday.

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“There will be some occasional gusty winds from a very mild Santa Ana condition that will keep skies clear with relatively little smog,” he said. “And we don’t see any rain at all. There are no storms on the horizon right now that will affect Southern California.”

Times correspondent Jeff McDonald in Ventura County contributed to this story.


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