Near-record temperatures are expected to drive swarms of people to the beaches this week, where conditions combine to make for some dangerous waters. The National Weather Service and the coastal authorities are warning of high surf to all Los Angeles County beach-goers, from Tuesday until Thursday. As a result of the combined high tides, extremely dangerous rip currents are expected.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has advised that a south swell generated in the Southern Hemisphere is expected to arrive to south-facing beaches early Tuesday morning. Wave heights are expected to build through the day reaching seven feet by Tuesday evening. The high swell period is expected to last through Wednesday, with peak wave heights reaching as high as 10 feet near point breaks and jetties.
These risky waves come during a full moon, which is expected to bring high tides too. The tides are expected to rise as high as 6 feet or more, peaking Tuesday evening. The combined effect of high surf and high tide may cause minor tidal overflow during times of high tide. Authorities caution beach-goers to stay out of the water, as the large breakers are expected to cause rip currents which will be hazardous for even advanced-skill swimmers.
Swimmers caught in rip currents are advised to swim parallel to the beach until free of the current, rather than fighting against the flow and risk exhaustion.
Also, the National Weather service has cautioned of extended heat through Thursday, with temperatures reaching near-record highs. Although the coasts are expected to be cooler than the inland areas, as usual, excessive levels of heat are still expected. In the valleys, temperatures are expected to surpass more than 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to the strong upper level high pressure system which spawns the heat, there will be a weak offshore winds in the mornings. As a result, many areas are expected to reach the highest temperatures thus far this summer. Furthermore, what little offshore winds the coastal areas do receive could bring high temperatures from the ocean, offering little reprieve.
The prolonged nature of the heat wave, coupled with increasing warm nights through mid-week will prevent sufficient cooling in non-air-conditioned places, making for potential dangerous conditions. Residents of such areas are advised to prepare for a long stretch of hot weather. Anyone planning on extended outdoor exposure is advised to stay in the shade, drink plenty of water, and wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
Additionally, strenuous activity should be limited to early morning and evening times. Children, the elderly, or pets should never be left in vehicles, even for short periods of time and even with windows partially lowered, as temperatures can still rise quickly to life-threatening levels.
This high heat warning, in conjunction with the excessively dry season, also brings a high risk for fires throughout the woodland areas. As Labor Day weekend approaches and the numbers of campers drastically increases, state and park officials are asking everyone to be extremely cautious.