In the midst of one of the worst droughts in decades, California is seeing unseasonably warm temperatures for mid-May.
The U.S. drought monitor says most of California is currently experiencing either extreme or exceptional drought, the worst possible ratings on their scale. That makes this week’s unseasonably warm and dry weather the state is facing very bad news.
The entire state is expected to see potential record temperatures this week. Northern California was expecting to break several records on Wednesday including one set in San Jose in 1905. The city of San Francisco was also expected to surpass the 88 degree record set back in 1922.
Southern California was also expecting record temps in Los Angeles (98 degrees) and surrounding cities like Santa Monica (also 98 degrees). Temperatures were expected to hit triple-digits farther inland. The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for parts of Orange County until Thursday. On top of that, a wind advisory has also been issued for the coasts in Orange and San Diego counties.
In an unusual turn of events, temperatures in Death Valley, which holds the record for the highest air temperature ever recorded (134 degrees), are expected to be in the 80s this week, i.e. as much as 10 degrees milder than the beaches.
All of the excess heat and low humidity raises the potential for wildfire outbreaks. A red flag warning was issued for parts of Orange County, LA County, Ventura County, and the Inland Empire. The danger of fire is made even worse by the strong winds which could hit 50 mph in parts of southern California.
The heat wave is expected to end Friday with temperatures receding to normal levels by Sunday.