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Los Angeles County sets new all-time high temperature as California combats wildfires

The 121° scorcher Sunday breaks the old record of 119° set only in 2006.
Credit: NWS Los Angeles
Wildfire in California.

Los Angeles County California set a new record high temperature Sunday, except this record high was also the hottest ever recorded in the southern California county’s history.

The scorching 121°F temperature was recorded at Woodlands Hill, breaking the previous record of 119°F set on July 22, 2006. Records have been kept at Woodlands Hill since 1949.

“The combination of strong high pressure aloft and weak offshore flow conspired to produce one of the hottest days since official weather records began across much of southwestern California,” the National Weather Service office in Los Angeles said in a report. 

The geography of Woodland Hills makes it susceptible to exceptionally high heat. 

"Woodland Hills is the last place to get the effects of sea breeze. It's tucked in the west corner of the San Fernando Valley," David Bruno, senior meteorologist for the NWS, said in a statement to CNN.  "This record heat was in a perfect or imperfect situation. High temperatures from surface to atmosphere, weak offshore flow and just enough to keep away the sea breeze." 

It wasn’t the only location to reach an all-time high temperature in the Los Angeles Weather Service warning area Sunday. Paso Robles climbed to 117°, besting its old record high of 115° first set in 2017 only five days earlier. Woodland Hills is an official National Weather Service reporting site, so 121° is what will go in the record books. 

In its report, NWS Los Angeles said a few “unofficial” weather stations in Stunt Ranch and Winnetka in Los Angeles reported high temperatures of 122°, as well as Solvang in Santa Barbara County. Many more unofficial stations reported 115° or hotter. Unofficial weather stations are those that one might have at home. They aren’t subjected to quality control like government stations are, so the results may not be completely accurate. 

Dozens of towns in California have experienced overnight low temperatures in the 90s with at least one community staying above 100° for nearly 24 hours. 

The western United States has been baking in an exceptionally hot and dangerous heat wave for several weeks putting strain on the power grid and resulting in numerous power outages in California. Compounding the problem is wildfires being fueled by dry conditions and hot, dry winds. Nearly 2.1 million acres of land has burned in the state, the worst ever in California’s history. 

Emergency services in California have also been busy. Ventura County Fire Department participated in rescues of hikers outside in the high heat who had ran out of water. Prolonged exposure in such high temperatures can be extremely dangerous and result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke.