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Beach-Goers Enjoy Ride on Heat Wave in Coastal Waters

May 15, 1996|DAVID REYES and DUKE HELFAND | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

In at least one location, however, the warm water was hurting the fishing. The commercial salmon fishing fleet in Ventura, which had a banner year last year, has moved north to Morro Bay because of the high temperatures, said fisherman Tom Roff. Salmon like cooler temperatures and do not feed in water over 59 degrees, Roff said.

"Yeah, we've noticed the temperature change," he said from a shipboard phone while fishing in Morro Bay. "I think it slowed the salmon catch down and that's why most everybody moved up here."

Despite the warm waters of recent weeks, there were signs Tuesday that a cooling trend is in store for the weekend.

The high-pressure zone that has been sitting over California and most of the Southwest is expected to weaken by Thursday, lowering ocean temperatures, said Curtis Brack, a meteorologist with WeatherData Inc., which forecasts for The Times.

While no rain is predicted in Southern California, the storm is expected to bring rain to Northern California, cloud skies locally and allow northwest winds to push in, which could lower water temperatures.

Surfers at El Porto in Manhattan Beach winced at news of the impending change.

"Your hands and toes fall off from cold," said George Ortiz, 21, as he emerged from the waves, his hair dripping over his surfboard. "Now it's a lot more comfortable to surf."

Times correspondent Scott Hadly contributed to this report.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

In Hot Water

Record high ocean temperatures are being linked to weaker winds and the lack of spring storms from Alaska

The Pressure's On

A high-pressure front stalled over the Southwest has produced clear skies. Without morning clouds to burn off, the sun's energy heats the ocean.

THE CAUSE

1. The front prevents Northwest winds that normally cause waves to churn surface water.

2. Without churning, called upwelling, surface water is not replaced by colder water from below thus raising temperatures.

LOCAL WATER TEMPERATURES

Ventura

This year: 65

Last year: 58

Zuma Beach

This year: 63

Last year: 54

Santa Monica

This year: 69

Last year: 58

Hermosa Beach

This year: 70

Last year: 58

Huntington Beach

This year: 67

Last year: 59

San Clement

This year: 70

Last year: 59

*

Sources: Orange Coast College,WeatherData Inc.; Researched by APRIL JACKSON/Los Angeles Times

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