Valley residents can expect warm and sunny conditions today and all the way through New Year's Day, with temperatures about 10 degrees higher than usual, the National Weather Service said.
Meteorologist Jim Andersen in the NWS office in Hanford said today's high will be 63 degrees, and the rest of the week will remain above 60. Normal highs for Fresno in late December are in the low-to-mid 50s. The high for New Year's Day is forecast to be 66 degrees.
Skies will become sunny once patchy fog burns off in the mornings. Lows will be in the 30s.
Though temperatures are warmer than usual, Andersen said he doesn't expect any records to be broken. Today's record high is 69, a mark set in 1949; the normal temperature for the date is about 53 degrees.
The early winter warmth and dry conditions are being caused by high pressure in the jet stream. Storms heading east across the Pacific Ocean are being bumped into the Northwest, away from California. Andersen said the dry weather and high pressure will last through next week.
The stable, dry air mass above the Valley means a continuation of poor air quality. Today the air will be rated unhealthy for Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties. It will be unhealthy for sensitive people living in Madera and Merced counties. Wood burning in fireplaces and stoves is prohibited in the region.
Extended forecasts are showing the possibility of a change in the weather pattern and a chance for rain in the early part of January, the NWS said. That would help clean the Valley air of soot that has built up.
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