Surf's clean, water warming up

Daily Pilot

Surfers are still wearing their wetsuits, but it's getting closer to the time of year when they're going to start showing up on the beach in just swimsuits or rash guards.

Ocean water temperatures increased by 10 degrees in two weeks, going from a relatively chilly 55 degrees to 65 degrees, said Capt. Mike Halphide of the Newport Beach Fire Department.

"The surf is clean, the water is warming up and even though it's drizzling, there are at least 50 surfers along that half mile stretch near the Santa Ana River," said Halphide, referring to the body of water that separates Huntington Beach from Newport Beach.

Two weeks ago, however, the ocean water was unseasonably cold for late May, Halphide said.

Mostly, because of the western winds that blew through the region, causing an upwelling of cold water from the depths of the ocean.

But when the southern and southeastern winds blow, the ocean's warmer water makes its presence felt, which was the case earlier this week. It's something that's expected to last until mid to late September.

"The sun is nearing its highest point with the solstice coming up," said Halphide, referring to the longest day of the year in terms of daylight. "You can expect the water to just keep getting warmer and warmer. Eventually, it will reach into the low 70s and stay there between now and mid to late September."

Usually, the warmest ocean water, up to 75 degrees, can be found off of Corona del Mar, he said.

And even though the "June gloom" has yet to relent, he said folks from the hotter inland areas, including the desert, are already engaging in the annual ritual of packing the Balboa Peninsula.

"The crowds are not commensurate with the weather," he said. "People are coming from the desert and they're saying, 'This is great.'"

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