Record or near-record highs were likely in many areas, with gusty Santa Ana winds tossed into the Southern California mix.
LIVE: Follow real-time temperatures in the Bay Area
Temperatures exceeded 80 degrees (26.6 degrees Celsius) before 9 a.m. in some places, the National Weather Service said.
Conditions increased fire danger, but red flag warnings were not issued as vegetation remains relatively green. Firefighters and helicopters quickly responded to a bushfire Wednesday in Los Angeles County and stopped its spread.
RELATED: Bay Area summer heat has many worried about fire danger and ongoing drought
The heat was forecast to linger through Friday before a dramatic cooling over the weekend brings a chance of precipitation early next week, including mountain snow showers.
The Bay Area should expect a 1 on the storm impact scale on Monday.
The spring heat wave follows an unusually dry winter that leaves California facing another year of drought and tight water supplies.
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The Sierra Nevada snowpack, a key component of water supply, is only 30% of the average for April 1, when it is historically at its peak, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
The Sacramento Weather Bureau said the outlook for mid-April and beyond favors continued warmer-than-normal temperature.
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