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California sees record highs as Midwest deals with blizzard conditions

NBC News logo NBC News 1/16/2021 Dennis Romero
a man riding a wave on a surfboard in the water © Provided by NBC News

SAN DIEGO — Summer weather made a winter appearance in Southern California, where multiple records fell Friday, while the East Coast braces for a snowstorm that brought blizzard conditions to parts of the Midwest.

California's Camarillo and Camp Pendleton, where it climbed to 94 degrees, tied for the nation's high-temperature Friday. With a high of 88, Los Angeles beat the previous record, 85 from 2014. The National Weather Service in San Diego, site of an all-time January high, said 16 records from the border to Orange County fell.

The culprit is a high-pressure system off the coast that is welcoming offshore winds from the mountains, which compress and warm up as they rush west, while blocking the cold winter influence of the Pacific Ocean.

"A lot of our coastal areas were warmer today than inland areas," said meteorologist Todd Hall of the National Weather Service's Oxnard office.

The warmth and Santa Ana winds were met by high surf, with waves as high as 20 feet forecast for the Central California coast and 10-foot waves expected at some Southern California beaches. Water temperatures were in the high 50s.

It's been a winter wonderland for surfers enjoying waves generated by storms they've yet to see. "The West Coast gears up for yet another run of solid surf as the North Pacific remains active," wave forecaster Surfline said in an email blast Thursday.

Southern California should see another couple days of summer-like temperatures.

"The hottest spot in the continental U.S. will certainly be somewhere in southern California each day thru the weekend," the National Weather Service said in a forecast discussion.

"Critical fire weather conditions" were forecast for greater Los Angeles on Saturday. Hall said this represents an extension of fall fire season into what would normally be one of Southern California's wettest months.

By Monday, high pressure is expected to move west and cooler conditions will prevail. Rain is possible next week for a parched Southern California, Hall said.

a close up of a car going down the highway: Image: Iowa blizzard conditions (Nati Harnik / AP) © Nati Harnik Image: Iowa blizzard conditions (Nati Harnik / AP)

While Southern California was dealing with heat Friday, roughly 60 million people across the Plains and Upper Midwest were under winter and wind alerts as blizzard conditions impacted parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri.

The storm front will head toward the northeast while producing light snow for the Midwest, Lower Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and even parts of the Southeast over the weekend, according to the weather service.

"The snow will produce hazardous driving conditions," it said.

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