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Light rains and cool temperatures set records in Southern California; The intense surfing advisory remains in effect

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A swimmer escaped the incoming tide on Wednesday at Capistrano Beach, where large sandbags had been placed to mitigate erosion from this week’s unusually high tidal waves. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Light rain and drizzle fell over much of southern California early Saturday, setting new rainfall records in some areas as well as cooler temperatures.

Coastal Los Angeles County and parts of the San Gabriel Valley and Orange County reported 0.01 to 0.04 inches of light rain or drizzle on Saturday morning, said David Gomberg, meteorologist for the National Weather Service to Oxnard.

A trace of rain was recorded at Los Angeles International Airport, matching records set in 1984, 1965, 1949 and 1945, according to the weather service. A trace indicates an amount of precipitation greater than zero, but too small to be measured by standard units.

San Diego County has broken records for temperature and precipitation. The city of Vista experienced a low of 73 degrees, compared to 75 in 2001; the rural community of Ramona reported a low of 71 degrees, up from 78 in 2002. Vista reported rainfall of 0.03 inches, up from 0.00 last year; Escondido reported precipitation of 0.04 inches, up from 0.03 in 1906.

The humidity and cool temperatures were caused by a deep sea layer that extended up to 4,000 feet, Gomberg said. Temperatures peaked at 78 degrees in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday and hovered into the lower 80s in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

The deep sea layer and cooler temperatures have, at least for the weekend, allayed concerns about fire conditions in the Los Angeles area, Gomberg said.

Temperatures are expected to remain mild on Sunday before starting to rise on Monday. By Wednesday, they will be “well into the 90s,” Gomberg said, and up to 100 degrees in areas such as Woodland Hills and Palmdale.

The weather service has warned of high waves and dangerous return currents over the weekend on southern California beaches, especially those facing south. The weather service has advised people to stay out of the ocean or swim near lifeguard towers. The strong waves could wash people off beaches or rocks and capsize small boats, he warned.

Kealiinohopono “Pono” Barnes, an ocean rescue specialist with the LA County Fire Department, said the the dangerous beach conditions were caused by the high waves from the south, combined with high tides from an upcoming Full Moon Sunday.

Swimmers can easily be dragged sideways into larger return currents and taken out to sea, Barnes said. A swell brushes the south side of Santa Monica Bay, hitting the coast at an angle. As a result, Barnes said, he was shot over 1,000 yards on the beach in 20 minutes while in the water on Thursday.

Rescuers had to rescue a couple who had been swept away by high tide near Sunken City in San Pedro on Thursday. The woman sustained a leg injury and was airlifted to hospital.

Times writer Robin Estrin contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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