Light rain, cool temperatures set some records in Southern California; heavy surf advisory remains in effect

A swimmer jumps over white sandbags as the tide goes toward him at Capistrano Beach.
A swimmer escapes the rising tide Wednesday at Capistrano Beach, where large sandbags had been placed to mitigate erosion from this week’s unusually high tide surf.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Light rain and drizzle fell across much of Southern California early Saturday, setting new rainfall records in some areas along with cooler temperatures.

Coastal Los Angeles County and parts of the San Gabriel Valley and Orange County reported 0.01 to 0.04 inch of light rain or drizzle Saturday morning, said David Gomberg, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

A trace of rainfall was recorded at Los Angeles International Airport, tying records set in 1984, 1965, 1949 and 1945, according to the weather service. A trace denotes an amount of precipitation that is greater than zero, but is too small to be measured by standard units.


San Diego County broke some temperature and rainfall records. The city of Vista saw a low of 73 degrees, down from 75 in 2001; the rural community of Ramona reported a low of 71 degrees, down from 78 in 2002. Vista reported precipitation of .03 inch, compared to .00 last year; Escondido reported rainfall of .04 inch, compared to .03 in 1906.

The moisture and cool temperatures were caused by a deep marine layer that extended as far as 4,000 feet, Gomberg said. Temperatures peaked Saturday at 78 degrees in downtown Los Angeles and hovered in the lower 80s in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

The deep marine layer and cooler temperatures have, at least for the weekend, eased concerns about fire conditions in the Los Angeles area, Gomberg said.

Temperatures are expected to remain mild Sunday before beginning to rise Monday. By Wednesday they will be “well into the 90s,” Gomberg said, and as high as 100 degrees in areas such as Woodland Hills and Palmdale.

The weather service warned of elevated surf and dangerous rip currents over the weekend at Southern California beaches, particularly those that face south. The weather service advised that people either stay out of the ocean or swim near lifeguard towers. The heavy surf could wash people off of beaches or rocks and capsize small boats, it warned.

Kealiinohopono “Pono” Barnes, an ocean lifeguard specialist with the L.A. County Fire Department, said the dangerous beach conditions were caused by high surf out of the south, combined with large tidal swings from an upcoming full moon Sunday.

Swimmers can easily be pulled laterally into larger rip currents and carried out to sea, Barnes said. A swell is grazing the south side of Santa Monica Bay, hitting the coastline at an angle. As a result, Barnes said, he was pulled more than 1,000 yards down the beach in 20 minutes while in the water Thursday.


Lifeguards on Thursday had to rescue a couple who had been swept away by a high tide near Sunken City in San Pedro. The woman suffered a leg injury and was airlifted to a hospital.

Times staff writer Robin Estrin contributed to this report.