When the sun starts blazing, the hottest place in Los Angeles is, more often than not, Woodland Hills.
The whole San Fernando Valley is one giant pit fire on almost any warm day, and the National Weather Service has thermometers at other Valley locations, including Van Nuys and Burbank. So we had to ask: Why Woodland Hills?
Charles B. Pyke, former assistant meteorology professor at Cal State Northridge, had a pretty logical answer for us:
"Woodland Hills is about is far away from the sea breeze as you can get," he told us.
Even on some of the hottest days of the year, the ocean has its influence. The Pacific is one gigantic air conditioner, and breezes, often from the west or northwest, can give temps a good haircut.
Even though Woodland Hills isn't that far from Malibu to the south, as the coastline heads west toward Oxnard, it extends the distance it would take a wind off the water to make it to Woodland Hills.
In fact, Woodland Hills is almost as far as the nearest beach to the west as Santa Monica is to West Covina in the hot spot known as the San Gabriel Valley.
Even when the sea breeze takes a U-turn at Burbank and comes back to fill the Valley, as it sometimes does, Woodland Hills misses out because it's so far west, Pyke says:
It's the farthest away and the last for a good sea breeze to reach. It heats up more than almost anyplace else. Chatsworth is also hot.
Bonnie Bartling, weather specialist with the National Weather Service, says Woodland Hills' temperature readings are conducted at Pierce College. "It's inland enough that it's not affected as much by the marine influence," she says.
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That said, Woodland Hills hasn't been the hottest place in L.A. during this heat wave because of the offshore, Santa Ana winds. A high pressure system is forcing hot air from east to west, making some coastal communities hotter than Vegas.
"When you get these Santa Anas, the beaches can be warmer," Bartling says.
There's good news for those of you in Woodland Hills and elsewhere in Southern California: Things will start cooling off "a hair" Friday, with some serious, 10-degree drops in temperatures over the weekend, Bartling says.