Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rain cycle replacing January's record heat

By Leslie Berestein
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
February 9, 2009

That summer we had in January will seem like a distant memory, with rain likely throughout today and more showers expected later in the week, the National Weather Service said.

Last month was unseasonably warm, and last week the Wild Animal Park in the San Pasqual Valley near Escondido registered the highest temperatures in the lower 48 states for three consecutive days at 86, 87 and 88 degrees.

But winter returned just days later, leaving beachgoers disappointed while snow lovers headed to higher altitudes over the weekend to enjoy the cold.

“It was pretty busy,” said John McWay, co-owner of the Laguna Mountain Lodge in Mount Laguna. “We were booked over the weekend.”

At Lindbergh Field, which saw temperatures as high as 81 degrees in mid-January, a rainfall record was set for Saturday's date with 1.12 inches. The county now is almost 2 inches above average for rainfall.

In the mountains, the winter weather made for treacherous driving conditions, with the California Highway Patrol advising travelers of fog and snow on Sunrise Highway.

A cold front with showers is expected to linger through tonight. Tomorrow and Wednesday are expected to be mostly sunny, with highs reaching the mid-60s, a far cry from the record-setting 95 degrees at the Wild Animal Park on Jan. 15.

Warm weather is not expected to return for at least the rest of the week. A chance of showers exists Wednesday night and into Thursday, then again Friday night into Saturday.

“It will stay cool,” said Tina Stall, a weather service meteorologist.

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