HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — Ahead of the holiday weekend’s dangerously hot temperatures, families from Lancaster, Arizona and Indianapolis escaped Thursday to Huntington Beach hoping to beat the crowds.
“We thought we’d try and catch it before it gets hot this weekend,” Jen Bontrager said.
With temperatures expected to get into the 90s at Orange County beaches, Huntington Beach lifeguards said they were prepared for record-breaking crowds.
“The warm weather and everything that’s going on, people from all over are coming to our beaches and we want them to be safe,” Eric Blaska, of the Huntington Beach Fire Department, said.
Lifeguards said they would be fully staffed and paramedics would be patrolling the sand all weekend after four men died in the water at Huntington and Laguna beaches in the past week and a half while waves and rip currents were minimal.
“I can’t speak on what happened to those individuals, but I do know we are getting an influx of people to the beaches and they don’t understand their water capabilities,” Blaska said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said that while the number of drowning deaths might seem high for the week, the number is actually lower for the year — possibly due to pandemic-related beach closures.
But for many taking advantage of the cooler weather on the coast, the bigger concern was keeping their distance from other beachgoers.
“As long as everyone is being safe, wearing their mask when it’s appropriate, washing their hands and keeping their distance unless they’re with their families, it’s fine,” one beachgoer said.
Lifeguards will be out at the beaches all weekend long from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.