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Tiffany Means

Warm, Dry Weather in Western U.S. Sparks Record Temperatures, Wildfires

By January 18, 2014

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The Soda wildfire burns in California's Sequoia National Forest, January 18, 2014.

Warm, dry, and windy may sound like welcome weather to some of us right about now, but for residents of Southern California, it's proving to be nightmarish.

Unseasonably warm temperatures and gusty Santa Ana winds have plagued SoCal all week, creating extreme fire danger and ultimately leading to the start of two wildfires--the Colby (just northeast of LA) and Soda (just northeast of Springville, CA) wildfires.

In addition, more than two dozen new record high temperatures have been set across California state, including 77°F in Oakland, CA; 86°F in Pasadena, CA on Jan 16; and 88°F in Vista, CA on Jan 14.

Surface high pressure anchored near the Great Basin along with high pressure located just west of Southern California in the upper levels of the atmosphere have worked together to keep hot, dry conditions in place and block storm systems from entering the region. With little change in this weather pattern expected in the short term, more record high temperatures and an increased threat of wildfires will likely continue across the West and Southwest into early next week.

Image credit: Ron Salazar/InciWeb Incident Information System

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