Heat, Smog Ease Only Slightly; 'More of Same' Due for Today

Times Staff Writer

It was only slightly cooler and less smoggy in the Southland Saturday than the day before, and the outlook for today is for much the same kind of eye-stinging air and high temperatures.

Eleven areas, including downtown Los Angeles, went through first-stage smog alerts for varying periods during the day, meaning that the air was unhealthful for everyone. The day before had been the smoggiest in two years.

Temperatures generally were a few degrees lower, with the thermometer peaking at 91 in downtown Los Angeles, only three degrees less than Friday.

Montebello registered 94, San Gabriel had a 96 and it was 100 in Monrovia. The temperatures were in the 70s and low 80s in coastal areas.

Orange County fared somewhat better, with Santa Ana reaching only 85. At Newport Beach, the high was 73. The water temperature stayed in the high 60s. Orange County also had less smog problems than other areas and did not reach a first-alert stage, officials said.

The heat, however, brought 250,000 people to county beaches. At Huntington Beach, an estimated 30,000 persons crowded the sand, although it was foggy most of the day there, lifeguard Ty Weisser said.

"We had a heavy crowd today, probably because of the heat," Weisser said, adding that lifeguards had 15 rescues during the day.

The National Weather Service said that Saturday's smog and heat were caused largely by a high-pressure system dominating the area and a lack of wind.

A weak sea breeze of about 10 m.p.h. did spring up along the coast late in the afternoon. The forecast for today was "more of the same," according to weather service specialist Dave Cooper. He called for generally fair skies, except for fog and low clouds along the coast, and continued high temperatures through Monday.

He said that inland highs both days will be in the 90s, with a high of 93 downtown. Lows should be in the 60s.

The deserts will be clear and hot, hitting 115 in some spots. Mountain areas will be in the 80s.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District's forecast for today was for first-stage alerts in the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys and in the Riverside-San Bernardino area.

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