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Weekend Is Not Lost on Beachgoers

February 16, 1988|BRAD HANSON | Times Staff Writer

More than 150,000 people flocked to the Orange County's sunny shores Monday to enjoy what was, for most, the last day of the long President's Day holiday weekend.

Although traffic was reported to be heavier than usual in most beach areas, no major problems were reported, as high temperatures reached into the mid-70s in the county, authorities said.

According to the National Weather Service, highs ranged from a cool 65 at Newport Beach to 82 in San Juan Capistrano, where three record highs were broken last week. One of the previous records, a 78 that was broken last Tuesday, had stood since 1907.

In El Toro and Mission Viejo, the mercury rose to 81 degrees Monday; Santa Ana recorded a high of 78.

"It's your normal boring California weather," said Patricia Cooper, a meteorologist with WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times. "It's pretty much holding constant."

"It should be fair and continue to be quite warm for the rest of the week," Cooper said.

The National Weather Service predicted that temperatures would be near 80 today after expected patchy fog in the morning. Forecasters also said temperatures could rise to the mid-80s on Wednesday and Thursday and continue warm through the weekend.

Low temperatures are expected to stay in the 50s throughout the week, with some in the lows 40s in some inland areas.

Cool water temperatures in the upper 50s kept most beachgoers out of the water during the holiday, much to the relief of lifeguard staffs that have been pared down for the winter season.

"We're keeping busy," said Bill Richardson, marine safety captain for the City of Huntington Beach. "Fortunately, the water is still cold and there's not a lot of people in the water."

Just Three Rescues

Richardson estimated the crowd on the sands of Huntington Beach to be between 18,000 and 20,000. He said there were only three rescues Monday.

And although nearly 85,000 people crowded into Newport Beach, Mitch White, marine safety officer for the city, said no rescues were made in the 1- to 3-foot surf.

While hundreds enjoyed balmy weather on the Seal Beach pier, Bonnie Johnson and Crissy Gonzales tackled a project that kept them both on their feet for the better part of an afternoon.

What began as a dare became an obsession as the teen-agers from Cerritos tried to count the number of wooden planks on the 1,865-foot structure.

"Everyone was totally looking at us weird," 15-year-old Bonnie said.

According to the pair, there are exactly 1,297 rows of the planked wood.

"Some girls walked by and said, 'Are you real?' " 16-year-old Crissy said, vowing to count the spikes in the planks next time.

Meanwhile, a group five of high school girls from San Gabriel escaped to Seal Beach to cheer up after a less-than-romantic St. Valentine's Day.

"We were all depressed last night because it was Valentine's Day and none of us got valentines," said Cheary Fetterly, 18. "So we're here to clear our heads."

"And get a great tan," added Michelle Rietow, 17. "Then maybe we'll get some valentines."

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