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County Lifeguards Keep Their Cool for Hot Time at Beach

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It’s hot, the surf’s up and it’s Labor Day weekend. Ergo, county lifeguards are geared up for a final summer blowout.

“With this kind of heat, I would think we’ll have between 50,000 to 70,000 people on our beaches a day this weekend,” Lt. Steve Davidson, a Huntington Beach marine safety officer, said Friday, when the thermometer hit 79 degrees on the pier at 2 p.m. “If it’s anything like today, we will probably be packed.”

Meteorologists predicted a slight cooling trend through the weekend, but not enough to keep temperatures out of the 90-degree range inland. The only possible problem for beach-goers could be patchy fog along the coast in the mornings.

“Conditions are going to change very little through the Labor Day weekend,” said Curtis Brack, a meteorologist for WeatherData, which provides forecasts for The Times. “You can expect a very slight cooling trend each day, but overall the same mostly sunny conditions.”

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Adding to the lure of the weekend beaches, at least for surfers, is an increasing south-to-southwest swell that brought waves between 4 and 6 feet at Newport Beach on Friday, and 2 to 4 feet at Huntington Beach, lifeguards said. Newport Beach lifeguards were flying their yellow flags Friday, meaning swimmers should use caution because of the waves and riptides, said John Moore, a guard at the pier.

“There is a moderate swell right now, which should get bigger on Sunday,” said Moore, who predicted that the heat could bring as many as 150,000 people to the city beaches. “Our lifeguards have been out there doing a lot of preventive actions.”

Moore predicted the Wedge, the beach at 15th Street and the west Newport area near the Santa Ana River jetty, would pick up the swell best.

Swimmers also will find water temperatures, about 64 degrees, cool compared to the warm air, lifeguards said.

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Brack said high temperatures through the weekend should stay in the 70-degree range along the coast and climb up to 90 degrees in the county’s interior.

Friday’s high temperatures rose to a sweltering 95 degrees in Lake Forest, 91 degrees in Santa Ana and Anaheim, 83 degrees in Dana Point and 76 degrees in Newport Beach, Brack said. The temperatures stopped short of the record 100-degree high in Santa Ana in 1967, but topped the normal 84-degree high for this time of year.


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