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Yes, This Summer Has Been Less Hellish Than Last Year (But Don't Get Too Comfortable)

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File photo: A resident of Los Angeles takes a walk on the beach in Santa Monica during a heat wave sweeping Southern California in this March 2004. (Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images)

Ugh, this heat wave. It's hot. It's sweaty. And another will come along soon.

Temperatures on Thursday were expected to reach 87 degrees in downtown L.A., 100 in the San Fernando Valley, and 103 in San Bernardino.

It'll start cooling off Friday, but temperatures are expected to pick back up from Monday through Wednesday of next week.

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A high pressure system is sitting over the Southwest like a blanket of hot air, keeping cool air from coming through.

And while the heat isn't unusual for this time of year (August is one of our hottest months), this year's heat waves haven't lasted as long as they could have, according to Mark Moede, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

A number of low pressure troughs have come in from the Pacific and Pacific Northwest, cooling things down, Moede said.

"That trough [has] kept our marine layer deeper than average," he said. "Instead of having that hot dry air mass from the inland desert areas moving into Los Angeles, it's been fairly cool with that deeper marine layer keeping temperatures in check," Moede said.


If you feel like this summer has been a little less hellish than 2018, you're not wrong.

In L.A. County, June and July were cooler on average than the previous two years. June was 1.3 degrees cooler than 2018 and 4.9 degrees cooler than 2017. July was 5.2 degrees cooler than 2018 and 3.6 degrees cooler than 2017.

The two months didn't even come close to being the hottest on record, a refreshing change given our recent history.

While we're still running our air conditioners nonstop in the San Fernando Valley, other parts of L.A. have been downright comfortable.

By this same time last year, the average summer temperature in downtown L.A. was 77.9 degrees. This year, it's 73.5. We've also seen far fewer extreme heat days -- days over 95 degrees -- one so far this year versus eight by the same time last year.

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For the whole of California, the average temperatures in June and July were lower than last year as well.


L.A. County's average summer temperatures from 1895-2018. (Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

These numbers are only useful in that they can confirm your gut suspicion that this summer has been a bit cooler than the last few. It's a nice reprieve, but it's important to realize that temperatures have still been above average, and long-term trends show that summer heat is only getting worse across both L.A. County and California.

California's average summer temperatures from 1895-2018. (Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Look beyond California, and this summer's been devastatingly bleak.

The planet had its hottest July on record.

There have been fires in the Arctic. Greenland could lose a record setting amount of ice.

And think about this: if you did notice just a few degrees between this summer and the last, imagine what it might feel like by 2100 in Southern California when we might see average temperatures in the triple digits.

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