October 2010 home page


Coast Watch: Sand Up, Temp Down, Summer Over
Jon Edelbrock | DM Lifeguard Lieutenant


September Swells Raise Sand Levels Photo Art Olson



The sand levels on our beach are at normal recent levels in the early fall. Thank the back-to- back mid-September long interval swells from the Southern Pacific for this welcome deposit. Lifeguards made an early season decision to work on moving sand up higher on the beach in front of Powerhouse Park and the Lifeguard headquarters earlier than usual this year. This practice of moving sand usually takes place in November just before our higher energy winter swells. However, the decision to move this up to September this year was made so that we can hopefully get more depositing in the low sand areas we draw from. Additionally, the sand moved will get a better opportunity to compact so it can sustain the winter force of waves and tides.

Water Temperature - Cool waters continue to dominate our sea surface temperatures in Southern California. After years of being spoiled by the highest summer and fall temperatures in the last forty five years, the La Nina weather phenomena of the equatorial Pacific Ocean has had a strong influence on our cooler-than-normal ocean temperatures. Local temperatures were five to seven degrees below normal for the summer season, with an average of sixty-three degrees.

Most of the summer, day-to-day fluctuations could be described as schizophrenic, with multi-degree temperature decreases normal. Our peak high this summer was sixty eight degrees, thirteen degrees down from our 2008 high of eighty one. We had multiple days of fifty-eight degrees, a highly unseasonable temperature most often only seen from late November through March.

Data from La Nina years convinces lifeguards we can expect to see cooler temperatures throughout the fall and winter. Already, our September temperature has settled in the high fifties, making the water uncomfortable without a full wetsuit.

Beach Crowds and Staffing – As our crowds at the beaches, parks, and our streets diminish, so do Community Service staffing levels post Labor Day. The weekend attendance numbers have diminished to nearly half of the weekends prior to Labor Day. Lifeguards continue to staff Lifeguard headquarters seven days per week, however, the only other tower scheduled for opening on the weekends only through October is 25th Street, should crowds dictate the need.

Special events such as the Del Mar Foundation concert, Powerhouse Paddle, SurfDog Contest, and the Marine Exploration Day, make for busy days for our staff.


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