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Labor Day Beach Report

Hurricane Ilena will make for great surf but dangerous conditions at Orange County beaches.

Lifeguards are warning Labor Day beachgoers to use their heads when it comes to swimming in the ocean, because of potentially dangerous big waves, strong currents and extreme tides.

Thanks to waves churned up by Hurricane Ilena in the Southern Ocean, a big swell should produce breakers 5-8 feet today and tomorrow. The surf should start dying down Monday.

``It's really the perfect storm for a busy holiday. We do expect to be very busy," said Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lt. Mike Beuerlein told The Orange County Register. ``We are telling people about the big surf coming, and not to go into the water if they don't know how to swim."

Swimmers who find themselves being pulled offshore should swim parallel to shore until out of the current, then swim for the sand. Wearing fins helps. Rip currents can be identified by churned-up, murky water.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory, effective through 6 p.m. Sunday.

The swell should be the biggest this summer, Surfline chief pacific forecaster Kevin Wallis told The Register. A longer period swell is coming from the Southern Hemisphere, and shorter swell from the south southeast.

Lifeguards in San Clemente will be flying red flags to signify dangerous surf.

Seal Beach's surf should be about right for children, 2-4 feet, lifeguard chief Joe Bailey told The Register. ``We're expecting some pretty fun, good surf.''

Because of the full moon, tides will be extreme, and some low-lying areas around Seal Beach and the Balboa Peninsula could see some coastal overflow.

Newport Beach's renowned break, The Wedge, could produce waves 12-15 feet, Wallis said.

Wallis said a midsize surf can be deceptive, because of lulls between big sets. People should be wary about venturing out on jetties to get an up-close look at the surf. Waves can unexpectedly wash over previously dry areas, especially with an incoming tide.

Water temperatures will be about as warm as they get, around 70 degrees.

The air temperature along the coast should top out in the mid and upper 70s, and even push into the low 80s in spots. The wind will be out of the west, peaking around 15 mph in the late afternoon.

- City News Service

Doug Pemberton September 02, 2012 at 09:51 PM
San Clemente is a wonderful place to live, play, visit and especially swim in the ocean and catch some Rays and waves. However, as this article spells out, you better be prepared when heading in the water. Know how to swim and know it well. Know and understand about Rip currents. Special note to all parents. Lifeguards are there to help and not babysit. Yesterday I was with a friend at Califia State Beach and the waves were getting huge for body boarders, boggie boarders and swimmers. I was out in the waves and got caught in the rip. I started swimming cross current (Parallel to the shore) when I noticed an 7-9 year old boy that had been caught by the rip and was getting very tired. He was panicking. I asked if he needed help and he stated with a very affirmative plea,, YES.. As I was remembering my own youth as a lifeguard I let him know to stay calm and we would get in. I started with a wrist tow and not going much of anywhere til we angled more cross current. His father started swimming over and when he arrived he was tired. I Kept up with the tow then we all got hit with a big wave. I lost the boy for a moment then found him underwater, grabbed him and launched him out of the water. Parents Please please please watch your children. This one would have been possibly lost. Pay attention to the Flags at the Lifeguard towers. Doug
Charles September 02, 2012 at 11:12 PM
We were at Doheny Beach today (at the extreme north end near the rocks) and the waves were 1-2 feet but they're always pretty small there. It's a great place for kids to learn to surf too. The only bad things are the rocks on the beach and in the water and also the reports that Doheny is one of the dirties (bacteria levels) beaches around.
Doug Pemberton September 03, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Charles, Your Right Doheney is a great beach and a super one to teach and learn surfing. I also agree it is dirty being next to the river mouth. It really is a fun place.

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