Winds winding down – but heat isn’t burning off just yet

Winds were dying down Monday afternoon but Orange County’s beachy weather will continue through the week, experts say.

Winds peaked in the 50s (mph) at the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, and gusts were in the upper 20s in inland cities, such as in Anaheim, to the coast.

This week’s heat has been chart-topping, some cities projected to get into the 90s on Monday, nearly breaking a more than 50-year-old record.

“This is pretty unusual. Most of our temperatures have been hovering just below record highs,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Brett Albright said on Monday. “We had a very strong heat event in 1954 that prevented this one from setting records. It looks like tomorrow (Tuesday) we may set some.”

Temperatures will reach a peak on Tuesday, perhaps in the 90s in some spots, and then cool down into the 70s through next week. It’s likely locals won’t feel cooler weather, say in the 60s, until later this month, Albright said.

Some may wonder what’s this mean for El Nino, but Albright points out that many factors affect weather patterns and El Nino is just one of them. He says although it’s atypical for an El Nino year, it’s doesn’t change its forecasting. El Nino conditions are still out in the Pacific.

The lack of humidity also put residents on fire alert, but meteorologists pointed to recent rain as a coup in this week’s heat wave.

“It is kind of a classic event where we could expect to see fire concerns but it’s happening at a time of year where our vegetation is pretty green,” Albright said. “Say if this happened at the end of the summer or early fall… it would have been a much bigger concern.”

Orange County Fire Authority Spokesman Larry Kurtz said although that might be true, it’s still important to stay vigilant during a statewide drought.

“The rains that we had earlier in the year helped to grow new grasses but as fast as they grow, they can dry out just as quickly,” he said, citing the wind. “A type of incident we normally expect in the summer or early fall months is now becoming a year-round event. It’s important for everyone to keep on their toes and practice being fire safe, even if it’s in the middle of winter.”

Staff Writer Chris Haire contributed to this report.

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