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Forecasters warn of dangerous surf, more hot weather through next week

July 23, 2009 |  6:43 am

The combination of extremely hot weather and high surf prompted the National Weather Service to issue a warning this morning about hazardous weather in Southern California.

Forecasters now say the heat wave that has created broiling condition in the region for more than a week will continue through the weekend and into next week. The weather service forecaste "triple-digit heat across portions of the mountains, deserts and interior valleys. The hot and fairly dry conditions will continue to bring heightened fire weather conditions to much of the interior through the week."

Officials said high surf could bring dangerous rip currents and localized flooding to beach areas.

South-facing beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties are bracing for large waves. The high surf is a byproduct of 50-knot winds that developed off Tahiti and are blowing toward Southern California, producing 8- to 12-foot swells at some beaches.

The conditions are perfect for surfers, and the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing competition is being held in Huntington Beach through Sunday. But the surf might be too much for other beachgoers, and lifeguards may warn them not to go into the water if the surf gets too high and dangerous.

The National Weather Service has issued a warning to boaters in south-facing harbors to anchor down. Beach homeowners also are being told to be wary of increased erosion from large waves and high tides. "It's going to be very dangerous; there's going to be a lot of rip current," said Sean Collins, chief forecaster for Surfline.com.

As high pressure continues to heat the Southland, the beaches are expected to be packed in the coming days. So lifeguards are preparing.

"We're watching it and we're prepared . . . but then again, it's a prediction, so things might change," said Mickey Gallagher, a Santa Monica-based chief for Los Angeles County lifeguards. "Only time will tell."

-- Ruben Vives

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