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200,000 at Beach Keep Lifeguards Busy

Times Staff Writer

Lifeguards reported hundreds of rescues Sunday when moderate to heavy surf and warm weather attracted more than 200,000 people to Orange County beaches.

Although the number of surf rescues was unusually high--more than 100 at Huntington City Beach--no drownings or major incidents were reported, lifeguards said.

Air temperature was 75 degrees along the coast, with water temperatures in the mid to upper 60s, lifeguards said.

“It was warm and the water was warm, so we had more people going into the water,” said Lifeguard Sgt. John Barth from Huntington Beach.

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During the day, Barth said swimmers were plagued by five-foot surf that helped cause lateral and rip currents that kept lifeguards “very busy.”

Lifeguards said they expect moderate surf to linger through today. Inland temperatures rose to 84 degrees Sunday. However, temperatures are expected to cool today, with a high of 78 inland. The coastal temperature is expected to be 70 degrees today.

Early-morning beach visitors were greeted with haze and fog. But once that lifted in the afternoon, swimmers eager to cool down went into the ocean despite the relatively heavy surf.

In San Clemente, about 30 rescues were reported in a two-mile stretch that included the city pier. Lifeguards counted about 9,000 people at the beach, said city Lifeguard Kent Sanders.

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Near the area of the Huntington Beach Pier, lifeguards at times were performing rescues involving up to 20 people simultaneously, Barth said.

“But for the most part, all the rescues Sunday were pretty routine,” he said.

Lifeguards at Newport Beach said a south swell brought three- to five-foot waves with an occasional six-foot set on south facing beaches.


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