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Record low temperatures hit Southern California

record-low-temperatures-southern-california-december-2016

Cold and dry air streamed into parts of Southern California over the weekend, dropping temperatures to record lows. Cold air and weakest sunshine of the year will not allow maximum temperatures to warm much at all for at least the next couple of days. SoCalGas is urging customers to immediately reduce their natural gas use during this critical period to help lower the risk of possible natural gas and electricity shortages.

According to NWS Los Angeles, record low temperature of -8.8 °C (16 °F) was set at Lancaster Airport on Sunday morning, December 18, breaking the previous record of -8.3 °C (17 °F) set in 1995.

At Santa Maria Airport, a record low temperature of -2.7 °C (27 °F) was set on the same day, breaking the previous record of -2.2 °C (28 °F) degrees set in 1928.

“The cold air mass and the weakest sunshine of the year will not allow maximum temperatures to warm much at all,” the NWS said. A moderate Santa Ana wind was seen in the cards, forecasters said, but it would still be cold.

"Maximum temperatures across the area will only climb to the upper 50s to the mid 60s, or 4 to 8 degrees below normal,” the agency added.

The cool and dry air mass will result in frost and freeze conditions or wind sheltered areas the next couple nights.

Gusty Santa Ana are expected through at least the middle of the week, resulting in gradual warming of daytime highs.

The cold air should push some winds into the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley as well as the La Canada and La Crescenta valleys.

The cold front also brought snow to the Big Bear area and has created dangerous driving conditions for motorists.

Southern California Gas Co. has issued a "SoCalGas Advisory" yesterday, asking customers to immediately reduce their natural gas use to help lower the risk of possible natural gas and electricity shortages. The Advisory will continue until further notice.

SoCalGas urges all customers to reduce their natural gas use by:

  • Lowering their thermostats to 20 °C (68 °F) or below
  • Waiting a day to use natural gas appliances, and
  • Washing clothes in cold water when possible

More than 95% of Southern Californians use natural gas for home heating, and about 60% of the electricity used in California comes from power plants that run on natural gas.

Featured image: Minimum temperatures expected at 12:00 UTC on December 19, 2016. Credit: NOAA/NWS

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