Downtown Los Angeles broke a March 14 heat record Saturday when the temperature hit 93 degrees just before 1 p.m., far surpassing the previous record of 88 set in 1951, the National Weather Service said.
Other Los Angeles locales that set record temperatures were LAX at 90, topping the 86 mark of 1951 and UCLA at 92, way ahead of the 84 registered in 1994, the weather service said.
Long Beach’s afternoon high rose to a record 94, nine degrees beyond the previous record 85 also set in 1994, according to the NWS.
Highs reached 93 in Torrance, and 96 in Fullerton, but the weather service doesn’t release record temperature statistics for those cities.
In Orange County, Santa Ana at 94 and Newport Beach at 85 experienced record highs, passing the 91 and 76 totals, respectively marked in 1926.
Those two cities also set records for the highest low temperature for March 14. In Santa Ana, Saturday’s overnight low of 65 exceeded the previous mark of 60 in 1993. In Newport Beach, the low of 63 rose above the 60 of 2003.
The Antelope Valley, for a change, was the local comfort zone, with a mid-afternoon temperature of 79 at Lancaster.
The same conditions that caused Saturday’s record heat — a high pressure system hovering over the Southland that is drawing hot desert air into the Los Angeles Basin — likely will thrust temperatures toward record levels today, the NWS said.
The National Weather Service expressed special concern for people who will take part in today’s L.A. Marathon, saying they need to be aware of the potential for serious heat-related problems.
In an effort to beat the heat, marathon organizers have announced they will start the race from Dodger Stadium at 6:55 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled.
Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Capt. Kenichi Haskett predicted that those conditions would driven about 750,000 to 1 million people throughout the weekend to beaches along the 37 miles of coastline under the watch of county lifeguards between Zuma Beach and Redondo.
A similar number of beachgoers were expected to take to the shore from Redondo to San Clemente.
“We are experiencing large crowds and we’ve staffed out towers accordingly,” Haskett said.
Given the hot weather and onset of spring break season, more lifeguard towers will be open than typical for this time of year and seasonal lifeguards also were being deployed earlier than usual, he said.
“The surf is cooperating. It’s not causing significant rip currents,” Haskett said.
Wave heights were two to three feet and the water temperature was a summer-like 63 degrees.
NWS forecasters urged residents and visitors to avoid heat stress, including by scheduling outdoor activities in the morning or evening to avoid the day’s strongest heat, wearing light clothing if engaging in strenuous activities and staying hydrated.
They also urged residents to “never, ever leave children, pets or the elderly alone in the car.”
Highs were expected to begin a slow downward trend today and generally revert to the 70s, starting Tuesday.