Warm temperatures in the Los Angeles Basin that could soar to record-breaking levels in the mid-80s by early next week were predicted Thursday by the National Weather Service.
Thursday's top readings were mostly in the 70s, but forecasters expect some high temperatures in the lower 80s today, Saturday and Sunday, possibly rising to about 85 on Monday and breaking a few local records for Jan. 6. The current downtown Los Angeles record for that date is 82, set in 1969.
Meteorologists said a series of high-pressure weather systems is temporarily blocking the El Nino-enhanced onshore flow of rainy weather from the Pacific. At the same time, the high pressure is promoting moderate down-slope winds that warm up and dry out the air by compression as they sweep through mountain canyons to the sea.
Normally, this is the coolest, wettest time of year in California. But the continuing series of high-pressure systems -- including a "remarkably large one" Monday, the Weather Service said -- should keep the state warmer and drier than usual for at least the next 10 days.
However, the cyclical El Nino oceanic / meteorological phenomenon is still active. In most cases, El Nino winters are wet in Southern California, and the Weather Service's long-term forecasts still call for above-normal rainfall in the Los Angeles area over the next three to four months.
In downtown Los Angeles, the total rainfall for the season, which runs from July 1 through June 30, stands at 5.73 inches. That is more than twice as much as at the same time last year and almost 2 inches more than normal by Jan. 3.