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Record highs set in L.A., Santa Barbara County as heat wave bakes Southern California

March 31, 2011 |  3:54 pm

Record high temperatures for the day were set in downtown Los Angeles and Santa Maria Airport as a summer-like heat wave continued across Southern California on Thursday afternoon.

As of 3 p.m., the temperature had reached 92 degrees downtown near USC, breaking by 2 degrees the previous mark set in 1966, the National Weather Service said.

In Santa Barbara County, the high of 88 degrees at Santa Maria Airport broke a record of 86 degrees that had stood since 1931, according to the Weather Service.

The unseasonably warm weather came as a high-pressure ridge caused dry offshore winds to blow across the region.

But the Weather Service said temperatures will begin to drop beginning Friday and through the weekend as cooler coastal winds blow across Southern California.


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Twitter: @LAJourno

Photo: Temperatures soared on Thursday into the 80s and 90s in many parts of southern California. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times