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Just chillin': LA never hit 70 degrees this February

Hannah Fry, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde and Suhauna Hussain, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

LOS ANGELES -- Home restaurant's sprawling outdoor patio, set under a canopy of large trees, was designed to take advantage of California's temperate climate and typically sunny skies.

But this February has been so cold that the restaurant in Los Angeles' Los Feliz section scrambled to set up extra heaters outside the Craftsman-style house to keep diners and workers warm during the record-setting cold winter.

"We had three heaters going for a while and this month it just hasn't been enough," said Sam Yoo, a manager at the restaurant. "I'm trying to have the waiters and hostesses wear warmer clothing, but I have one heater set up right by the host stand so they don't catch colds."

For the first time since forecasters began recording data -- at least 132 years -- the mercury did not reach 70 degrees in downtown Los Angeles for the entire month of February. That makes it the eighth-coldest February on record, said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The high for the month clocked in at 61 degrees, significantly lower than the average temperature of 68 for February, Kittell said.

"Most of the time we'll get one or two Santa Ana wind events in between the rain that would give us temperatures above 70 degrees," he added.

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"But it's just been back-to-back storms and no offshore flows."

It's a big change for Southern California, where temperatures have been rising to record levels in recent years along with a prolonged drought. Weather experts said the chilly February doesn't signal a larger change in some of those trends.

Even factoring in the cold snap, California is still warmer than average, and swings between periods of severe winter rainstorms and profound drought will probably become more pronounced in the future because of climate change, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

He added that it might not be as cold as locals perceive it to be given how much warmer it has been in the last several years.

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