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Cooling Trend Is Expected to Break the Scorching Heat

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Frequent dips into the frothy ocean near the Huntington Beach Pier and iced coffees helped Sarah and Maureen Noone keep cool Saturday on what meteorologists called one of the hottest days of the summer, even along the beach.

A high of 96 degrees was recorded in Lake Forest. The all-time record for the date is 99, set in Anaheim on Aug. 6, 1951, according to Orange County historian Jim Sleeper.

Thousands flocked to the county beaches where the temperatures were cooler--in the upper 70s and low 80s--but the baking sand, lack of breeze and relentless sunshine kept the Noone sisters in and out of the surf.

“The only way to get through this heat is to keep jumping in the water,” said 21-year-old Maureen Noone, a resident of Huntington Beach, who stayed in her bikini top and shorts as she walked briskly down Olive Street with her sister. “You just really have to go for it and jump into the waves. It feels great.”

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The San Clemente Pier recorded the hottest beach temperature--84 degrees--and the lack of wind kept the heat wave going through the late afternoon, said Steve Lashbrook, a marine safety officer.

“It was hot today, really hot. What wind there was died and that kept the temperature up,” Lashbrook said.

Other highs included 94 in Anaheim, 94 in Santa Ana, 92 in Irvine, and 86 in Laguna Beach.

A cooling trend is expected to begin today and continue through the early part of the week, said Curtis Brack, a meteorologist for WeatherData, which provides forecasts for The Times. Highs today should drop slightly to the lower 90s inland, and lower 70s at the beach, and then drop again into the 80s inland Monday, Brack said.

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The cooling is expected to come from a storm system that has been idling off the Oregon coast, Brack said. As it moves south it should rebuild the marine layer that tends to cool the temperatures, Brack said.

The storm brings a low pressure front that allows the clouds and fog to build, he said.

“There was hardly any marine layer today; what there was was very shallow,” Brack said Saturday. “You had a little bit of offshore breeze in the morning. When those winds come downhill off the mountains and into the valleys, they really warm up.”

The slight offshore breeze was good news to surfers, as was the consistent four- and in some places five-foot south and southwesterly swell that hit most of the county beaches, particularly Huntington Beach, where the U.S. Open of Surfing ends today.

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“We’ve had good surf for the contest all week and it was a solid two to four feet today,” said senior lifeguard Todd Bartlett. He called the 75 degrees recorded in Surf City on Saturday “very hot” on the sand for the estimated 70,000 people who visited the beach.

“Considering the fact that we’ve had some gloomy weather this year, this is the hottest it’s been for awhile,” Bartlett said.

The surf was a little bigger--three to five feet--at most of Newport Beach with the best waves breaking outside of the jetties at the mouth of the Santa Ana River, said lifeguard Chris Graham. An estimated 85,000 people enjoyed the sun and kept the lifeguards busy, Graham said.

Newport Beach lifeguards made 75 rescues throughout the day Saturday, but there were no serious injuries, Graham said.

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The humidity Saturday ranged from 30% to 40% throughout most of the afternoon, but rose to 60% by 9:30 p.m., according to a reading taken at the Tustin Marine Corps Air Station.

Times staff writer Greg Hernandez contributed to this report.


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