Stingray Attacks on the Rise at Southern California Beaches

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Several beaches along the Southern California coast have experienced an increase in painful stingray attacks as weather conditions have lured the aquatic creatures closer to shore, according to local lifeguards.

In the past 30 days, the Newport Beach Fire Department lifeguards recorded 127 stingray injuries, compared to only 20 over the same period of time one year ago, Mike Halphide, lifeguard battalion chief at the Newport Beach Fire Department, told ABC News.

Halphide said the jump in stingray attacks began around mid-July this year, when the water temperatures spiked. NASA reported Monday that this July was the hottest since their record keeping began, and stingray attacks seem to be the latest unintended consequence of warming ocean waters.

"We had really warm water," Halphide told ABC News, "we had water in the high 70s."

Coupled with the rising water temperatures, Halphide said they also experienced a "drop off of surf."

"So what that does is creates calmer conditions that allows the stingrays to come in from the deeper waters to the shallower waters," he said.

The six-fold increase of stingray attacks this summer is likely because of these two factors that have brought many stingrays closer to shore, Halphide said.

"The stingrays are local up and down the California coast from Baja up to Northern California, so most of the beaches in this area have had the same conditions," Halphide added, saying they have experienced attacks along several beaches.

There are steps people can take to prevent stingray attacks, according to Halphide.

"The first thing that we want to remind people is just check with the lifeguard, they can give you the most up-to-date information about increased risks," he said.

The second way is a method called the "stingray shuffle," where you drag your feet on the ground as you enter the ocean, kicking up sand.

"What that does is it creates some turbulence and scares the stingrays," Halphide said, adding that attacks "usually occur in fairly shallow waters."

In the event that a stingray attacks, the first thing you should do is go to a lifeguard, he said.

While a majority of cases are not serious or life-threatening, Halphide said that these attacks are extremely painful. He said that, on the pain scale of one to 10, 10 being the most pain, "Most people will describe the pain as a 7, 8, or a 9."

Halphide said the stings are usually treated by soaking in hot water.

"What the heat does is breaks down the enzymes that cause the stinging pain," Halphide said. "They'll soak it typically for 30 to 45 minutes."

In extreme cases, he said people will go into anaphylactic shock, which is a serious but "very rare" complication.

Halphide reminds beach-goers to seek help if they have been stung: "Always just come check with a lifeguard, they are the best resource."

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California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfires

California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfiresGoogle Earth(NEW YORK) -- Ravaged by a slew of deadly wildfires in recent days, northern California is set to get a bit of relief this week in the form of rain.

A storm system is expected to move over the Pacific Northwest later this week and the trailing cold front will most likely bring some much-needed rain to northern California between Thursday and Friday, according to ABC meteorologists.

"It will rain a bit but not enough to fully douse the blazes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said in a statement Tuesday. "The biggest advantage to firefighters will be the increase in humidity and lower temperatures."

Massive wildfires have charred more than 245,000 acres of land statewide in the past week, killing at least 41 people and destroying thousands of homes, according to authorities.

Firefighters were battling about a dozen wildfires as of late Tuesday evening, although most of them were more than halfway contained.

“The weather today will be warm with low humidity, which will continue to challenge firefighters, but only light winds are forecast,” CalFire said in a statement on Tuesday. “A chance of precipitation is expected to arrive later in the week, bringing relief from the dry conditions.”

The northern parts of the Golden State, which has bared the brunt of the fire damage, is forecast to see an influx of cloudy, cooler and wetter weather later in the week, according to AccuWeather.

Spotter from Los Osos was reporting sprinkles from this high level moisture. Dry at lower levels. Rain evaporates. Also called "Virga" #cawx pic.twitter.com/sgxj3bdXZQ

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 18, 2017

However, a return of dry air, heat and areas of gusty winds could once again raise the wildfire danger early next week, meteorologists said.

Separately, a band of moisture, referred to as Atmospheric River by weather experts, is currently stretching between Asia and North America. It’s expected to bring several storm systems into many parts of the Pacific Northwest through the rest of the week.

The first of these storms have already hit the Pacific Northwest with wind gusts of between 40 and 74 mph.

A number of wind warnings and flood watches are in effect in the western and northern parts of the U.S. ahead of the storm.

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