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Heat wave hits, but beware of big surf, rip currents if hitting the beach

A sizable swell rolled into Southern California this week, with waves on Wednesday giving surfers a thrill, but also bringing dangerous conditions to the coast.

Waves were in the 4-foot to 6-foot range at south-facing beaches throughout Orange County and 3-foot to 5-foot at some spots along Los Angeles’ coastline, according to forecast site Surfline.com. Surf was even bigger at stand-out spots like the Wedge in Newport Beach, where some waves hit upward of 10 feet, drawing a crowd who watched as surfers, bodyboarders and bodysurfers raced down wild waves.

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The swell, which started showing up on Tuesday, will linger this week as heat hits the region and sends beachgoers to the coast – who should use caution if going into the ocean.

Strong rip currents and beefy waves will pose hazards, along with a big high tide mid-morning that can sweep people off rock jetties or tide pools.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory on Wednesday, which will remain in effect until 8 p.m. Thursday. Inland temps will reach between 95 to 108, while the beach will be in the 80s.

“Hot temperatures may cause heat illnesses to occur,” the advisory reads. “Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.”

Though still warm, temps will drop slightly Friday and into the weekend, according to the NWS.

Waves will drop to 3 feet or 4 feet by Friday and Saturday, still hazardous for people inexperienced with the ocean. Always swim near a lifeguard and ask about hazards in the area such as rip currents.

The swell is a reminder to only surf to your abilities and to follow rules like never lose control of your board. Laurie Haller was out surfing at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point on Wednesday, hoping to nab some fun waves, but instead she ended up with a bloody gash after someone else’s loose board hit her face.

“I was stunned actually after the impact,” she said. She needed five stitches above her eye. “I was still sitting on my board and I think that was also confusing to me, like how did I get hit?”

It’s a good reminder that when there’s swell, conditions demand a bit more skill and awareness, she said.


Source: Orange County Register

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