Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Heat wave grips Southern California; high surf expected at beaches

August 23, 2010 |  6:08 pm

A heat wave gripping Southern California will produce near-record triple-digit temperatures in inland areas Tuesday, while large waves and dangerous rip currents are expected at beaches from Ventura to San Diego, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory for beaches in Ventura and Los Angeles counties from Tuesday evening through Wednesday evening. Large waves and dangerous rip currents were also expected in San Diego County, according to the weather service.

 On Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures could hit 110 in Antelope Valley, 107 in lower mountain areas from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles counties and 90 to 98 degrees in other inland areas, the weather service said. The weather service said the heat was expected to last at least through Thursday.

Fire officials noted that the summer weather, coupled with dry, off-shore winds and single-digit relative humidity predicted for mountain and inland areas, also increases the potential for brush fires.

"We have a lot of fuel ready to burn," said Capt. Ron Oatman of the Ventura County Fire Department. "All it takes is a little spark."

Along the coast, a powerful storm in the Southern Hemisphere was expected to generate waves from 6 to 8 feet on south-facing beaches, with waves up to 10 feet at point breaks and jetties in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, according to the weather service.

On Monday afternoon, the swell was already filling in at Huntington Beach, where 7-foot waves were breaking near the pier, lifeguards said.

"The surf's big, and the lifeguards are standing ready to help anyone who needs it," said Huntington Beach lifeguard Lt. Mike Beuerlein. "It's looking more like summer."

The large waves will coincide with late-night high tides of about 6 feet, which will be caused by a full moon. "The combined effect of high surf and high tide may cause minor tidal overflow during the times of high tide," the weather service said.

Swimmers are also advised to take precautions because of dangerous rip currents that may result from the large breakers.

For much of July and early August, temperatures were below normal in coastal and inland areas of Southern California, the weather service said. The warm-up was being caused by a high-pressure system that had settled over the region, the weather service said.

-- Robert J. Lopez