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February on track to be Southern California's hottest on record

Olivia Brown, left, and her friend Elizabeth Foster take the sun at Playa Del Rey beach in Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. A February of dry skies and up to 95-degree heat is starting to dry up new fallen rain and snow, and raises worries this El Nino may not be the drought-buster California needs. Forecasters say a least some rain is on the way.(AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Olivia Brown, left, and her friend Elizabeth Foster take the sun at Playa Del Rey beach in Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. A February of dry skies and up to 95-degree heat is starting to dry up new fallen rain and snow, and raises worries this El Nino may not be the drought-buster California needs. Forecasters say a least some rain is on the way.(AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Nick Ut/AP

It’s Leap Day today. More than just keeping our calendar on track, this extra day of the month could make this February the hottest on record in Southern California. But with one day left, it could come down to a photo-finish.

February 1995 currently holds the title of hottest on record logging an average temperature of 65.3 degrees. The average over the first 25 days of this month was 64.9 degrees.

Meteorologist Eric Boldt with the National Weather Service says above average heat this past weekend could push us over the top.

Boldt says this February has been unusually warm and dry across the state. This was supposed to be a time of monster El Niño rains. Instead, the state’s snowpack has shrunk by roughly a quarter since February 1. The weeks of sunshine and heat also mean California’s drought could continue into a fifth year unless heavy rains return.

Boldt says a ridge of high pressure that’s been keeping the state warm and dry.

“It’s not that unusual to see a warm period in the middle of our winter," he said.

But that area of high pressure is starting to break up, and Boldt said Northern California will likely see rain this week with storm systems moving into Southern California the second week of March.

“We could be getting into a better pattern of rain in Southern California coming up,” he said.