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Downtown LA temperature hits 70 degrees for the first time since January

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That ends one of the longest cold snaps in Los Angeles history

Snow-capped peaks
One of the coldest months in decades, February brought snow and other unusual weather to many LA communities.
John Dvorak/Shutterstock

By at least one measure, one of the most prolonged cold snaps in Los Angeles history ended today, when the temperature in Downtown LA reached 70 degrees for the first time since January.

That finished off a streak of 41 consecutive days in which the temperature never climbed into the 70s. According to the National Weather Service, that’s the fifth-longest stretch of sub-70-degree days dating back to 1877, when meteorologists began keeping temperature records for the area.

The warmer weather is expected to continue into this weekend, when the Weather Service predicts temperatures will reach the mid-70s.

Last time the temperature stayed below 70 for so long? The chilly winter of 1936 through 1937, when the average high temperature in January was just 55.17 degrees.

Last month was also the first February in recorded history during which the temperature in Downtown Los Angeles did not reach 70 degrees, according to the Weather Service.

It came close on February 12, when the weather warmed to 69 degrees. But that turned out to be the high point in a month that brought snow to communities where it hadn’t fallen in years.

Only six other times dating back to 1877, have temperatures stayed below 70 degrees for an entire month. February’s average high of 61.5 degrees was the eighth-lowest ever recorded and the coldest since 1962.

While February didn’t provide the warmer days residents are used to, its coldest points were closer to typical levels. The average low for the month was 46.5 degrees, roughly 2 degrees below the historical average and slightly warmer than the average February low as recently as 2011.

The overall average temperature during the month was 54 degrees, the lowest for any month since January 1979.

Climate scientist Daniel Swain told Curbed last month that climate change has caused baseline temperatures in Los Angeles to rise considerably, making chilly weather like that seen in February feel especially unusual.

Historical data show brisk weather like this was once fairly common in Los Angeles. In fact, seven of the eight coldest monthly average temperatures in Downtown LA were recorded prior to 1920. Four times between 1877 and 1920, the temperature dropped to its lowest level ever: a sub-freezing 28 degrees.

Though it might not have felt like it to some residents, temperatures in the neighborhood never dropped below 40 degrees in February.