The beach was the place to be on Monday as the South Coast of Santa Barbara County sweltered in temperatures near the century mark. A cooling trend is forecast through the week. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Autumn may be officially starting, but Santa Barbara County residents should continue to see sunny skies and begin to cool down from the heat starting Tuesday.

Monday felt more like summer, due to hot, dry Santa Ana air blowing from Southern California and triple-digit temperatures in many areas.

“Today was the hottest day for all of Southern California,” said meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie of the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “We were a few degrees warmer than yesterday. That’s primarily because we are still in the Santa Ana conditions.”

Santa Barbara reached 99 degrees, four degrees shy of the record of 103 that was set in 1963.

The thermometer reached 104 in downtown near City Hall, 86 in Isla Vista, 100 in Montecito, 101 in Refugio, 102 degrees in Lompoc and 97 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

In Santa Maria, the daily high temperature hit 101 degrees, topping a record of 100 that was set in 1921.

The heat was prompting schools in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District to be on a minimum day schedule Tuesday because of “predicted extreme temperatures.”

About 7,700 students from Pioneer Valley, Righetti and Santa Maria high schools will end the school day just before 1 p.m., according to district spokesman Kenny Klein.

Temperatures in the high 80s are expected to return Tuesday in Santa Maria, according to the National Weather Service.

The summer-like heat is expected to fade away throughout the week, bringing cooler temperatures starting on Tuesday, Hoxsie said.

Most of Santa Barbara County is expected to drop 5-10 degrees on Tuesday, Hoxsie said.

Santa Barbara County should feel relief from the heat as temperatures fade again on Wednesday, Hoxsie said.

By Saturday, temperatures along the coast are predicted in the low 70s along the coast and the low 80s inland.

Hoxsie said it’s common to have multiple days of heat in September, October and November because the months are “prime Santa Ana season.”

“On a typical hot day the coastal areas have the marine layer to protect them, but with hot air blowing off shore it evaporates the marine layer,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.