SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A spring heat wave sent temperatures soaring in the San Diego area Friday, providing a toasty preview of summer as thermometer readings neared triple digits in the inland valleys and broke past that barrier in the deserts.
The hot spell, which has been building since midweek, is expected to continue in earnest Saturday before beginning to ebb on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
This afternoon, the mercury edged into the low to mid-80s along the coast and in the mountains, reached the mid-90s in locales in between those zones and climbed to 103 in the desert community of Ocotillo Wells, according to the NWS.
“Yesterday was the first time I noticed we had the air on at our house. We were getting really hot in there for the first time, and tomorrow is going to be even worse,” Tim Gaylord told News 8 during his walk along Windansea beach.
As temperatures soar, San Diegans are getting their first feel of summer weather, but there's just one problem: San Diego County's beloved beaches will remain closed during the peak of the heat wave.
“Today was the first day I woke up sweating. I couldn’t put my wet suit on and run down here [to the beach] but hopefully soon,” said local surfer Nathan Bohmhoff. “It’s torture, I pay so much money to live here and I can’t go in the ocean so it’s sucks."
On Friday, San Diego County health officials lifted ocean restrictions for swimmers, surfers and those using kayaks or paddleboards.
Piers, boardwalks and parking lots are still closed to the public, and the order does not include boat ramps or watercraft. It also does not apply to state parks and beaches.
The decision of beach closures has been left to the cities.
“It’s like being at an amusement park and being too short to ride the rides,” said surfer Dylan Cheema.
Each municipality can make the call on opening beaches. Any beaches that do open will be subject to the county's "passive use" definition, and visitors must avoid sitting, lying and engaging in group activities -- any open beach can be used for walking, running or as an access point to the ocean.
Cheema is one of many people who live near the water and does not have AC, but does have other ways to cool off.
“Open the windows, go for some walks and take cold showers,” he said with a laugh.
City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the next phase of opening city beaches would consist of beaches shorelines, all activities with physical distance, boardwalks, piers, parking lots, and Fiesta Island.
Gatherings would still not be allowed.
An NWS heat advisory for the inland valleys was slated to remain in effect through 6 p.m. Saturday.
Temperatures will drop Sunday and Monday, though afternoon highs in the deserts will remain around 100 through at least Thursday, forecasters advised.