Thanksgiving heat wave roasts Southern California

Temperatures soared into the 90s across a large swath of Southern California in an autumn heat wave that peaked Wednesday.

Many parts of the region hit new records for the day including downtown L.A. at 92 degrees, Long Beach at 96, UCLA at 95, Woodland Hills at 93 and Oxnard at 97.

Fresno reached 76 degrees in the 3 o’clock hour Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The weather service said the record high for the day in Fresno is 77 set in 1980. The record for Nov. 23 is 78 set in 1932.

Mother Nature will be serving one of the hottest Thanksgivings on record in Southern California, with potentially record-breaking temperatures 25 degrees above normal, said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The hot and dry conditions stem from an upper-level ridge of high pressure hovering over the area, which is causing desert air from the northeast to flow toward the Southern California coast, Sirard said.

Luckily for firefighters, who will be on high alert with the soaring temperatures, strong winds that typically trigger red flag warnings are not expected, he said.

Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be the hottest days of the week. Forecasters predicted temperatures in the high 80s and mid-90s throughout the Los Angeles area. The average temperature this time of the year is about 71 degrees, Sirard said.

As for Thanksgiving Day itself, the west San Fernando Valley will probably be the hottest area in the L.A. region, Sirard said.

A high of 93 is forecast for Woodland Hills on Thursday, one degree above the record set in 1995, according to the weather service. That’s higher than Palm Springs’ predicted high of 92 degrees.

Burbank could reach 91 degrees, beating the previous record of 86 in 1950. Long Beach is expected to top out at 89 degrees; the record high was 85 in 1990.

Thursday’s high at Santa Barbara Airport is forecast to be a relatively chilly 83 degrees.

Heat records also are set to be eclipsed Thursday in San Diego and Riverside counties, too.

The high-pressure ridge is predicted to weaken over the weekend, and near-normal temperatures should return by Monday, Sirard said.

Fresno Bee Staff contributed to this report.