The day Los Angeles experienced its record-breaking 113-degree weather, September 27, temperatures hit an unbearable 111 degrees in Santa Clarita.
According to climatologists at the National Weather Service, that likely sets or breaks the single-day high for the city.
What’s more surprising – even confounding – is that day occurred in the beginning of fall, when we expect cooler temperatures to arrive.
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Although September 27 is in fall, the burning, dry heat of that day underscored the weather that fried Santa Clarita during previous weeks – weeks that led many residents to call it the hottest summer in recent memory.
“It was actually a cool summer, statistically,” said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with at the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.
Summer begins June 21 and ends September 22.
Seto’s office receives and analyzes data from automated sites for the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Louis Obispo.
For a more localized approach, the office targets data from “co-op spotters” – unpaid citizens who track the weather with their own computers and weather devices.
Santa Clarita’s only co-op spotter operates out of Newhall, though Seto notes that they only receive his data from time to time.
According to Seto, a persistent upper level marine layer cooled much of southwestern California during the summer. This was caused by lower ocean water temperatures, which created a cooler sea breeze.
With an average of just 65.8 degrees (calculating day and night) this resulted in the lowest average temperature for the month of August since 1950 in the Los Angeles County.
All in all, for the entire 2010 summer, the average temperature was 65.4 degrees, the second coolest since records began in 1944.
As for that potentially record-setting day, “That hot weather pattern just persisted,” Seto said. “Cities just didn’t get an active sea that it normally would and temperatures increased,” said Seto.