Santa Monica Lookout
|Big Crowds Flock to Santa Monica Beaches to Beat Heat Wave|
By Niki Cervantes
August 18, 2015 -- Huge crowds hit the sands of Santa Monica Bay this weekend, fleeing from another heat wave that reached triple digits across Southern California’s inland areas.
Saturday and Sunday attracted a total crowd of 413,000 visitors to the beach waters of Santa Monica Bay, said lifeguard Capt. Kenichi Haskett.
There were some other, less welcome visitors too: Stingrays.
Officials said as many as 30 beachgoers were stung by stingrays in Venice and Santa Monica beaches over the week. The creatures are attracted to the water’s calm conditions and warm temperatures, they said. Sightings were also reported earlier in the week.
On Saturday and Sunday, Santa Monica lifeguards made 80 medical calls and 10 ocean rescues, Haskett said, and logged another 3,750 “preventative actions,” such as warning beach-goers about dangerous rip currents, stingrays and other water hazards, he said.
In all, attendance at Los Angeles County beaches was 2,067,450, he said.
Beach crowds were bigger than usual because of the heat wave, Haskett said. Santa Monica Bay boasted temperatures in the low 80s and the waters were in the low to mid-70s, he said.
For a region that’s already drought-parched, the heat wave added another level of weather-induced misery. Temperatures were expected to start moving down on Monday, after hitting record highs throughout Southern California over the weekend.
Long Beach reached 96 degrees, a record. Burbank hit 102 and Sandberg was 99 – both record highs. Lancaster registered 108 on Sunday.
A combination of warm waters, crowds seeking respite from hot days and some dangerous rip currents have already pushed the number of rescues of Los Angeles County beachgoers to almost 2,000 since late July alone.
In Santa Monica, lifeguards made 2,355 ocean rescues last year, compared to 1,614 in 2013.
More than 73.8 million people visited the county’s beaches in 2014, the second-highest estimated beach attendance ever, according to the county Fire Department. That was also the warmest year on record for California.
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