Officials are warning Southern California beachgoers that a building south swell will heighten the risk of dangerous rip currents throughout the Fourth of July weekend.
Lifeguards are bracing for huge crowds at area beaches, where sunny skies and water temperatures in the low 70s will create inviting but potentially hazardous conditions.
At Huntington Beach, marine safety officials said Thursday that strong rip currents were already present and that lifeguards had made at least 45 rescues by late afternoon.
"The rip currents are pretty strong," said Eric Dieterman, a marine safety officer at Huntington Beach.
If swimmers are caught in a rip current and are being pulled out to open water, they should swim parallel to the shore and then swim back toward the beach, Deiterman said.
The National Weather Service said surf will be three to six feet at south-facing beaches by Sunday.
The agency said that temperatures along the coast will be in the 70s and inland area temperatures will reach the upper 90s on Friday.
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