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Warm Weather Brings Thousands To The Beach, Keeping Lifeguards Busy

SANTA MONICA ( — On a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon at the beach it was hard to remember that less than a week ago Southland residents were huddled under umbrellas and wearing jackets to stay warm and dry.

CBS2's Laurie Perez reported that the big crowds at the beach the past few days rival those of the summer, and that has resulted in more work for lifeguards, who are still on their scaled-back winter schedule.

March is already shaping up to be a busy, if not record month for water rescues, Perez reported. Already, lifeguards have been busy rescuing swimmers who have gotten caught in rip currents.

"We really emphasize swim near an open lifeguard station," said Section Chief Chris Linkletter of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguards. "This is the springtime, it's early, it's not even spring, it's late winter, so not all of our towers are open. So we want to make sure when you come to the beach look for the tower that's open. And if you don't know, go to the nearest lifeguard and ask, we want you to swim where the lifeguard is."

Perez said much of the crowd remained at 6 p.m., just after sunset, as it was still warm at the beach. With the return of daylight saving time on Sunday, sunset at Santa Monica will occur at 6:56 p.m.

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