- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Southern California’s ugly mix of heat and thunderstorms began to ease Wednesday and forecasters said cooler, calmer weather will prevail through the week.

Triple-digit temperatures that baked much of the region since the beginning of the week fell as much as 10 degrees in many areas.

Downtown Los Angeles, where Tuesday’s high of 103 matched century-old records for the date, only reached the mid-90s.

Palm Springs hit 111 on Monday but only 102 on Wednesday.

A day earlier, moisture from the remnants of Mexico’s Tropical Storm Odile created unsettled conditions that spawned lightning, minor flooding and gusty winds in the deserts and mountains.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood watches through Wednesday night but cancelled one for parts of Los Angeles County hours early as conditions improved.

“The thunderstorms that were developing earlier just sort of died off,” said Rich Thompson, a meteorologist in Oxnard. “The atmospheric instability just wasn’t there.”

While lingering humidity and heat made for a sticky, miserable day in many areas, fewer people apparently were glued to the air conditioner.

For the first time in three days, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said peak electrical demand failed to hit a new record for the year.

Temperatures hit 10 to 15 degrees above normal for the season during the heat wave, forecasters said.

However, a cooling sea breeze and marine cloud cover were moving in that should drop temperatures to around normal for the next seven days or so, Thompson said.

“I hope everyone appreciates the heat break,” he said.

However, high surf and dangerous rip currents were expected to pound the region’s south-facing beaches through Thursday, the weather service said.

Tuesday’s raging thunderstorms caused numerous problems in the San Diego and inland regions of Southern California and were blamed for one fatality.

The Desert Sun newspaper reported that a 66-year-old man from Joshua Tree was killed when a flash flood carried away and overturned his SUV as he tried to cross a desert wash.

Trees smashed several cars and trucks and hit the front of a school bus in Spring Valley but nobody was hurt, authorities said. In San Diego, Montgomery Field airport reported that high winds flipped over several small planes, Watkins said.

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