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Dry heat, wet feet: Record temperatures and king tides collide in Southern California

John Doughty unties a small boat as he wades into a king tide at Balboa Island.
John Doughty of Costa Mesa unties his boat from a mooring Monday amid a king tide at Balboa Island in Newport Beach.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Towering high tides hitting the Southern California coast were met with record-high temperatures Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

The astronomical tides, known as king tides, occur when the moon is closest to Earth and are often the highest tides of the year, said Mike Wofford, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Combined with high surf, king tides can bring tidal overflows, minor beach erosion and an increased risk of drowning.

Monday’s tides were as high as 7 feet, and a beach hazard advisory will remain in effect in parts of Orange County and San Diego through Tuesday morning, when tides are expected to reach their peak of more than 6 feet in La Jolla and Newport Beach, according to the NWS.

“There are a few spots where they’ll be getting extra water near the coast,” Wofford said. “And if you have big waves on top of king tides or a high tide like that, you can get some issues.”

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The coast isn’t the only area that saw anomalous weather on Monday. After several days of fall-like chill, the temperature in downtown Los Angeles soared to 91 degrees Monday afternoon — a record high for Nov. 16, a day that’s typically cool.

The previous record for the date — 88 degrees — was set in 2008, Wofford said.

A jogger is reflected in minor street flooding following king tides on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The heat is being driven by warm Santa Ana winds moving through a hot air system, the combination of which will elevate some areas to brief critical fire weather conditions.

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“We have a high-pressure ridge over us, so the air mass is already warm to start off with,” Wofford said. “Then, when offshore winds come down the mountains, they heat up that already pretty hot air.”

Mountain areas, particularly the Santa Lucia Range, saw gusts as high as 50 mph. No red flag warnings have been issued, Wofford said, but residents are being advised to avoid burning trash or brush outdoors.

Despite what feels like a confluence of extremes, Wofford said the day’s unusual weather was no cause for concern. The king tides are arriving right on schedule, and the simmering heat will soon dissipate.

“It’ll be cool, then it’ll be hot, then it’ll go back to being cool again,” Wofford said. “That’s a pretty typical fall scenario.”

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A dock is partly submerged in Newport Harbor after king tides hit the area.
A dock is partially submerged in Newport Harbor after king tides hit the area.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Times staff writer Alejandra Reyes-Velarde contributed to this report.


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