A Santa Ana pushed strong and hot winds into San Diego County this week, sending temperatures into record-breaking digits on Wednesday and creating the potential for wildfires.
Thermometers at San Diego International Airport, in Vista and in Chula Vista all saw temperatures soar four degrees above their old records, with highs of 88 degrees, 89 degrees and 88 degrees, respectively.
The rising heat is due an offshore Santa Ana weather pattern that moved into the region Tuesday evening. While winds were mild Tuesday night, they ramped up on Wednesday in San Diego's mountains and foothills.
A wind advisory for those areas was issued from midnight to 3 p.m. on Wednesday due to winds that were expected to average 20 to 30 miles per hour with some gusts reaching 55 mph.
Humidity will also be low on Wednesday at about 5 to 10% for inland areas creating fire weather conditions in the valleys and foothills.
Cal Fire San Diego said they are staffed up and ready for any sparks that could turn into wildfires but urged San Diegans to do their part by ensuring there is a defensible space around homes (but don't use power tools) and having an emergency evacuation plan ready.
"You have a few events like this where the Santa Anas pick up, we start getting those hot air masses come back up, the humidity levels start to drop down and our field moisture’s start going back down," Cal Fire San Diego PIO Thomas Shoots said. "Days like this just remind us, hey, the potential is certainly still out here and we need everyone to be safe in everything they are doing.”
Along with gusty winds, the Santa Ana weather pattern will send temperatures soaring 15 to 20 degrees above normal for the remainder of the week, NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said.
Despite the heat, hikers were still hitting hiking trails in El Cajon, where temperatures were in the high-80s for most of the day. Some weren't expecting the heat.
"It’s feeling a little warm, warmer than what I would like it to feel but we thought we’d go early before it gets too hot," Linda Atkins said on the Sweetwater River Trail.
Others thought the temperatures were just right.
"The breeze is nice enough to keep us cool," a hiker named Kelly said.
Temperatures are expected to be in the high-70s and 80s along the coast, in the 70s in the mountains and in the upper 90s in the deserts.
While it will cool slightly along the coast as the week progresses, temperatures will rise inland. A return to more normal temperatures is expected on Sunday and Monday.
The NWS also warned that it is possible for some short bursts of showers and lightning strikes on Thursday due to some disturbance in the upper atmosphere, though it is unpredictable and unlikely.