Southern California

SoCal Lifeguards Back on Watch for Strong Rip Currents

A strong swell from the Southern Hemisphere is expected to bring elevated surf to region's beaches Tuesday.

Southern California beaches were expected to be spared any powerful storm surges from Hurricane Odile Monday, but a Southern Hemisphere swell moving through the waters into Tuesday have lifeguards back on watch for powerful rip currents.

The swell was expected to bring elevated surf along south-facing beaches and a significant amount of rip current activity, according to the National Weather Service.

Surf was already picking up in Newport Beach where the waves caught some visitors off guard.

"It just knocked me over and that wave just went right in my face!" said Trey Wadsworth, 8, who was visiting the beach from Nevada.

Sweltering heat inland was what brought larger than normal crowds to the coast Monday as the heat wave continued.

"Oh, it's a huge difference," said Troy Wadsworth. "We're staying next to Disneyland and I think it was about 97 degrees over there. The humidity is horrible. We're not used to the humidity being from Nevada!"

Triple-digit temperatures has extended what's already been a very long summer for Southern California lifeguards.

"This is the summer that started early and just won't leave!" said Lifeguard Capt. Mike Halphide of the Newport Beach Fire Department.

"The ocean is dangerous everyday -- but when the surf is like this it may exceed people's abilities," he said. "They may have been out in the water most of summer but not in conditions like this, so we always advise number one, to swim near a lifeguard."

Surf in Newport Beach was expected to reach 3-4 feet Monday and 5-7 feet by mid-week.

"I told them before we got here, it's going to be big waves," said Danielle Raad who came to Newport Beach with friends from Glendora Monday. "And sure enough there they are -- they're huge!"

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