The heat is on

COSTA MESA — Temperatures soared across Orange County on Monday with promises of cooler days — but a dryer-than-usual winter — in the weeks to come.

A "La Niña" weather pattern, characterized by unusually warmer Pacific Ocean waters as opposed to the cooler waters associated with "El Niño," is the cause of unusual summer-like temperatures, according to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

According to the prediction: "Nearly all models predict La Niña to continue at least through early 2011. However, the models continue to disagree on the eventual strength of La Niña."

Orange County residents and the rest of the Southwest Pacific region can likely expect to see less rainfall than usual this winter, according to the prediction.

With temperatures climbing to 107 degrees on Monday, it looks as if the predictions may prove accurate.

The last time the September weather was so hot — also 107 degrees — was in 1963, according to the National Weather Channel's temperature records taken at John Wayne Airport.

Orange County cities fared only slightly better than Los Angeles County, where temperatures reached 113 degrees, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It was the hottest day in Los Angeles since records began being kept in 1877, said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service.

The Los Angeles Times reported that California consumers were expected to use more than 45,000 megawatts of energy by peak afternoon hours, based on an interview with Gregg Fishman, a spokesman for California ISO, which coordinates power for 85% of the state's grid.

Temperatures in Orange County are expected to drop to the mid and low 80s by the end of the week and mid 70s by next week, according to weather.com.

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