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Hitting the beach for holiday weekend? 5 things to know before you go 

Want to hit the beach to beat the heat this weekend?  Chances are, you aren’t the only one.

With temperatures skyrocketing through the Labor Day holiday, the masses will be flocking to the beaches to cool down –  and if you’re one of those brave and patient enough to go, here are a few tips to navigate what’s expected to be a chaotic coastline.

Cooler at the coast

To put it bluntly: “It’s going to be a very, very hot Labor Day holiday weekend,” National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Moede said, expecting excessive heat warnings inland will be in place through Tuesday.

“The beach areas are definitely going to be the place where temperatures will be lower than areas just further inland, and much lower than areas like Yorba Linda or Ontario,” he said. “Nevertheless, it’s still going to be very warm at the beaches.”

Newport Beach, for example, is expected to be 82 degrees Saturday and 86 on Sunday before cooling slightly to 83 degrees Monday. Similar temps are expected along the entire coast, he said.

Compare that to Yorba Linda, expected to hit 105 on Saturday and 106 on Sunday, but be slightly cooler by Monday at 99 degrees. Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday is expected to reach 99 degrees and 102 by Sunday, then be slightly cooler at 97 by Monday, according to the NWS.

Hermosa Beach, meanwhile, will be 85 degrees Saturday and reach 90 on Sunday, cooling off to a still toasty 82 on Monday. Torrance, just a few miles inland, is expected to be 94 on Saturday, 95 by Sunday and 89 on Monday.

Make sure wherever you are, pack sunscreen, hats and water.

Expect chilly water

You will want to cool down in the water, but be prepared for a toe-numbing shock – water temps this week took a huge plunge with strong winds that caused “upwelling,” where deeper, cooler water is brought up to the surface.

Temps that were in the warm mid-70s were suddenly a frigid low-60s, sending surfers searching for their wetsuits.

If winds stay down the next few days, combined with scorching hot air temps, the water temps could raise up a few degrees to a more tolerable temperature.

Watch the waves

If you do wish to cool down by plunging into the chilly ocean, be warned there’s going to be a pretty strong swell in the water, which can also elevate rip current dangers.

Waves at south-facing beaches across Southern California could see surf in the 3- to 5-foot range Saturday and Sunday, posing hazard for people who are not strong swimmers or knowledgeable about the motion of the ocean.

“The ocean can be very unforgiving for the inexperienced. Rip currents can pull you out, panic can occur and next thing you know lifeguards will be out rescuing you,” Moede said. “So you have to be aware of that possibility.”

Always check in with a lifeguard to ask about hazards and where are safe areas to swim.

“If you’re not a storm swimmer, be especially aware,” Moede said.

Mind the tides

So you show up early, find the perfect spot on the sand and suddenly the ocean is creeping up closer to your stuff, threatening to drench your space and all your belongings.

Blame it on the tides, which this weekend happen to be pretty high late afternoon.

On Saturday, there will be a 5.1-foot high tide at about 2:45 p.m. and Sunday it will be a 5.3-foot high tide at about 4:15 p.m. By Monday, tides will get to 5.7 feet at about 5:30 p.m. – so make sure you pick your spot on the sand wisely or you may be forced to creep up into the space of the beachgoers behind you.

High tides – combined with the strong surf – can also spell trouble in tidepool areas if the waves wash over the rocks. People on the rocks can get knocked over or even sucked out to sea, so stay clear if the tidepools look slippery or the water is rushing onto them.

High tides can also shrink sand space near cove areas, so it’s best to stay out of coves in the hours before and after the highest tides of the day.

Parking and fire rings will be scarce

Labor Day weekend is typically one of the more popular beach days of the year, but lifeguards are anticipating crowds that could rival the typically busier Fourth of July weekend.

“We’re thinking with the heat and the increase in crowds all summer, we will be really busy,” State Parks Superintendent Kevin Pearsall said.

Pearsall said it’s a good reminder for people to practice patience if heading to the coast. He expects a line to form early in the morning to get into beach parking lots.

“We’re asking everybody to be as patient as they can because everyone wants to be there,” he said. “We’re noticing so much more frustration with lines, yes they are vast but we all live in Southern California – it’s one of the most beautiful places to be in. Everyone, be calm, hydrate and enjoy your three-day weekend.”

At the beaches that have them, fire rings will also be scooped up early – and remember to stick by your stuff if you want to keep your spot, he said.

“Property isn’t ownership of a fire ring. You can’t put  stuff there and leave and assume your stuff will be there or you’ll get the fire ring,” Pearsall said. “It’s really based on occupation.”

Pearsall also asked beachgoers to take out what they brought in.

“Please pick up after yourselves, with crowds comes so much more trash and clutter,” he said.  “We do have an environment here to protect, the birds and wildlife.”

Source: Orange County Register

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