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Overcast skies prevail over mellow Fourth of July on local beaches

Mild-mannered crowds chilled at San Diego beaches Sunday under largely overcast skies that were not expected to clear significantly this Fourth of July holiday.

Parking lots filled by 10 a.m. at city beaches from Ocean Beach to Torrey Pines and by 12:30 p.m. at Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado. But authorities said beachgoers have not been getting into trouble except for parking violations.

“It’s kind of quiet,” said Lt. Nick Lerma of the San Diego Life Guard Service. “Compared to other July Fourths, it seems a little slower. We’ve made maybe 30 routine rescues.”

Lerma said rip currents remain a hazard for swimmers. The National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory for San Diego and Orange county beaches, especially those facing south, with swells up to nine feet possible.

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San Diego police Lt. James Filley, overseeing police beach teams, said the two-year-old ban on drinking at the beach seems to be working to prevent problems Sunday.

“So far, everything is fine; we haven’t had many issues at all,” Filley said. “We haven’t made any drunk arrests today, and haven’t had any fights. We have families roasting hot dogs and playing Frisbee.”

However, Filley said officers arrested 41 motorists for drunken driving and several dozen other people for being drunk in public in a period from 6 a.m. Saturday through 6 a.m. Sunday.

Lerma said the sun had barely come out all day along most city beaches and the temperature was 67 degrees about 2 p.m.

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NWS forecaster Tina Stall said temperatures should be in the high 60s along the coast, maybe to 70 at Oceanside, while inland and mountain areas will reach the mid-70s. Ramona, Valley Center and other foothill communities may hit 80s, while desert temperatures will hover around 100.

“We won’t have total clearing at the beach, and the clouds will return this evening,” Stall said. “But the clouds will be too high to interfere with fireworks. They’ll make a nice backdrop.”