Fall Is Officially Here, With Weather to Match

The heat is off.

After gasping and sweating through the third-warmest August in 121 years, Los Angeles residents can gratefully welcome a refreshingly cool fall, which officially began Tuesday night at 10:37.

Because of a high pressure system that remained trapped over Southern California in July and August, the summer of 1998 was marked by record-breaking temperatures at the Los Angeles Civic Center and throughout the region.

In the San Fernando Valley, for example, Chatsworth not only broke seven records for high temperatures in August, but also rewrote the book for the hottest day in the entire month. That happened on Aug. 29, when the mercury hit 113. The old record for the hottest day in Chatsworth was set Aug. 23, 1985, when the temperature peaked at 112.

At the Los Angeles Civic Center, the memorable day was Aug. 31, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard. On that date, Los Angeles broke the record for the hottest minimum temperature when it cooled off only to 76. That beat the record set at the Civic Center in 1995, when the heat faded to 73.

"Besides the high pressure, another effect was that offshore winds were strong enough to block the afternoon sea breeze from breaking through the heat and providing relief," said Seto.

According to WeatherData, which provides weather information to The Times, the average temperature for the month of August was 79.9 at the Los Angeles Civic Center, making it the third-warmest August on record. The hottest August came in 1983, at 80.8, followed by August 1994 at 80.5.

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