Western Heat, Fire Risk to Diminish This Weekend
May 18, 2014; 1:03 AM
After a string of record-breaking high temperatures in much of California, a cooldown this weekend will help lower the risk of wildfires.
For Los Angeles and San Diego, Thursday was the hottest day of the heat wave.
San Diego set a new record high on Thursday of 97 degrees, making it the fourth-straight day that the city either tied or set a new record high temperature.
Downtown Los Angeles also set a new record high on Thursday, topping out at 102 degrees.
An onshore flow will become increasingly stronger through Sunday. This will knock out most of the heat along the coast, but temperatures will still be a bit above average for the middle of May.
Big Cooldown Coming by the Weekend
Afternoon high temperatures on Sunday will be 20 to 30 degrees lower than during the peak of the heat wave from San Francisco to San Diego.
As the wind diminishes and the humidity levels come up this weekend, the threat for new wildfires will lessen.
Firefighters should also be able to get a much better handle on the fires that are already burning. This is especially true across San Diego County, where a State of Emergency has been declared after raging fires burned more than 25,000 acres and forced thousands out of their homes.
The San Diego County Emergency Site reports the Las Pulgas fire has grown to 15,000 acres with 40 percent containment.
The heat that has shattered records in California has even reached the Pacific Northwest, where Portland, Oregon, set a record high of 91 degrees on Wednesday. Temperatures in the Northwest will drop significantly by the weekend with showers returning as well.
Runners heading to the Blaze the Beach Marathon in Long Beach, California, on Sunday will be happy to see the heat break. Temperatures will rise into the lower 70s, a far cry from Thursday afternoon, when the high will be near 100.
This break in the heat will last through the next several days across the West, with temperatures remaining close to average.
Content contributed by Andy Mussoline, AccuWeather Meteorologist