Big waves, warm waters, dangerous rip currents expected along Southern California coast this weekend

High surf and warm waters along Los Angeles and Orange County beaches are expected to draw large crowds this weekend, but officials are also warning of the increased chance of dangerous currents.

Orange County waves could reach as high as 7 feet this weekend, while Los Angeles County waves are expected to surge at around 5 or 6 feet, officials said.

“We’re expecting increased surf this weekend, almost into Sunday,” said Casey Oswant, a forecaster with the San Diego National Weather Service. “With this higher surf we expect an increased risk of strong currents – beachgoers should be aware of that this weekend.”

The strong currents are expected along the coast from counties Ventura to San Diego. Rip currents form at breakpoints in sandbars and near jetties and piers, according to the National Weather Service.

The strong currents, with an average speed of 1 to 2 feet per second, flow away from the shore at surf beaches. Some currents can move as fast as 8 feet per second, which the weather service says is faster than an Olympic swimmer.

Oswant recommends people contact lifeguards before hitting the waves and swim ahead of lifeguards.

Sea temperatures along the Southern California coast are expected to stay warm, hovering in the high 60s and low 70s this week through the weekend, according to data from the National Weather Service.

“That can contribute to a feeling of more humidity along the coast,” Oswant said. “It could remain a bit muggy near the coast if water temperatures stay as warm as they’ve been, but it should be a little less humid inland.”

But she said the region expects a “pattern change” that will bring overall cooler temperatures both inland and along the coast, from the upper 80s and 90s this week to the mid 70s and low 80s this weekend, Oswant said .

“Near coastal Sunday it’s going to be closer to 70 to 75, it’s going to cool off nicely there,” she said. Temperatures could drop to over 60 degrees on some Los Angeles County beaches on Sunday, said David Sweet, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. He said the humidity levels that much of the region was feeling this week should also ease.

“Things are getting back to normal, we’re about to dry out,” Sweet said. But “next week we’ll start warming up again.”

By Wednesday, he said much of Los Angeles County will experience high temperatures again in the ’90s. Big waves, warm waters, dangerous rip currents expected along Southern California coast this weekend

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