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Summer Heat Building in S.B.

National Heatwave Spreads West


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cue the air conditioners and climate change speculators.

This week, just as folks from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the past 12 months mark the warmest ever in recorded history for the continental United States, Santa Barbara County is about to feel the heat for the first time this summer.

According to forecasters from the National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Oxnard, inland highs for much of the county will approach and likely exceed triple digits on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday while the coast is expected to max out at a comparatively chilly 77 degrees. “Things are going to be nice and sunny and hot, especially once you get a little bit inland,” summed up NWS weather specialist Stuart Seto on Monday morning. “We’ve had a pretty cool summer up to this point but, that is about to change.”

The post 4th of July heat up is coming to us courtesy of the massive upper-level, high-pressure system that has been baking much of the interior U.S. for the past few days. Centered over the Great Basin region of Utah and Nevada, the high pressure (which spins clockwise for those of you keeping track at home) has built so intensely that it is has actually been creeping west into California since Sunday.

“Right now, [the high pressure] currently covers all the western states,” explained Sato. “When they get this large and this strong, they actually start to spread west with each day getting just a little warmer than the day before it.” According to Seto, temperatures should peak in all S.B. County areas around mid-week before the system begins to slowly move east and gradual cooling sets in for the weekend. Of course, as the heat builds in the inland valleys of Southern California and the hot air rises, a thermal inversion should kick in, all but guaranteeing that the coast of S.B. County should be spared from the highest highs of the heat wave.

This phenomenon, which features the aforementioned rising hot air and much colder air from the Pacific rushing ashore to try and replace it, generally means the coast can expect daytime highs that are often 30 degrees cooler than inland areas like Cuyama. Another side effect of this complicated and, at least for this time of year, common weather dance is a daily morning marine layer for the beach. Additionally, says Seto, certain coastal canyons can expect corresponding winds this week, on Tuesday evening especially, with gusts of up to 30 miles per hour.

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann

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