Record-breaking heat wave hits western United States for Thanksgiving

San Diego Fire Rescue helicopter loads water

The forecast 78-degree high for Thanksgiving also would beat the previous record of 76 degrees, set in 1995.

Several heat records were already smashed by Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

"I don't know that we're going to break [the record], but we're going to be close to it", said Josh Smith, meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

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The hot and dry conditions stem from an upper-level ridge of high pressure hovering over the area, which is causing desert air from the northeast to flow toward the Southern California coast, Sirard said.

The high temperature will continue on Thursday, as families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving with temperatures in the 90's when they are usually in the 70's. Sunday will be a blustery day behind a departing cold front, so high temps around 40 will feel much colder. The forecast high for Phoenix Wednesday is 87.

Temperatures will remain warmer than normal into the weekend, the weather service said, with a forecast high of 79 degrees on Friday and 80 degrees on Saturday, the latter of which would shatter the November 25 record of 76 set in 1970. A few clouds will linger overnight and morning lows for Wednesday will be around average for this time of year.

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As for Thanksgiving Day itself, the west San Fernando Valley will probably be the hottest area in the L.A. region, Sirard said. That's higher than Palm Springs' predicted high of 92 degrees.

Record highs were also recorded in downtown Los Angeles, Riverside, Long Beach, Santa Ana, Burbank, Woodland Hills, Big Bear Lake, Westwood, Lancaster and Santa Barbara, officials said.

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