Fire danger continues as Santa Ana winds die down

SAN DIEGO -- Excessive heat and red flag fire warnings remain in effect Wednesday throughout San Diego County, a day after the nation's highest temperature was recorded in Miramar and heat records were shattered from the North County to the South Bay and the beaches to the foothills.

Cooler weather will soon return and the heat wave peaked Tuesday, but temperatures are still expected to approach triple digits in several parts of the county Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Because of the unseasonably hot temperatures, the NWS extended an excessive heat warning that went into effect earlier in the week. That warning was scheduled to expire at 8 p.m. Tuesday but has been extended until 8 p.m. Wednesday for San Diego County's beaches and inland valleys. A red flag warning for the mountains and valleys remained in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

A wind advisory for the mountains and valleys was canceled about 8 a.m. Wednesday, six hours before it was scheduled to expire.

Despite the NWS' red flag fire warning, the U.S. Forest Service said "Santa Ana winds are either not expected, or will not contribute to significant fire activity." That's in part due to weaker winds only gusting up to 25 mph through mid-morning before dying down later in the day, and in part due to slightly moister air, with humidity forecast in the 8 to 18 percent range.

But despite dying winds and rising humidity, there will be little relief from the heat Wednesday. High temperatures will be 89 to 94 near the coast, up to 98 inland, 97 to 102 in the western valleys and 91 to 96 in the desert.

Those temperatures will be down slightly from Tuesday, when the Miramar Air Base hit 108 degrees to set the mark as the hottest locale in the entire country.

Vista at 107 degrees and the Oceanside Harbor at 98 degrees shattered the previous Oct. 24 heat records for those locales by 11 degrees. Both of the previous highs there were set in 1965.

Other record-breaking temperatures Tuesday included 105 in El Cajon, exceeding the prior high of 98, set in 2007; 100 in Ramona (96, 2007); 99 in Alpine (98, 1968); 99 in Chula Vista (91, 1999); and 97 in San Diego (94, 1965).

Higher humidity, lower temperatures and lighter winds are expected by Thursday across all of San Diego County, according to the NWS, though temperatures will remain above average for this time of year. By this time next week, temperatures are expected to be back around seasonal averages.