The drought parching California has resulted in less-polluted waters along the coastline.
Record-low rainfalls have decreased polluted runoff into rivers, according to environmental group Heal the Bay, which released its annual Beach Report Card on May 22.
The group gave 95 percent of California beaches A or B water quality grades for the summer of 2013, 2 percent higher than the year before. At Los Angeles County beaches, which have long been the most contaminated in the state, there was a 6-point improvement, to 90 percent receiving A's and B's from 84 percent in the previous summer season.
But the group cautions against taking the news too much to heart; the report said low runoff levels "may be providing a false sense of long-term beach water-quality improvement."
Water quality could get much worse if the predicted El Niño brings lots of rain to wash more polluted water into the Pacific.
The polluted runoff comes from chemicals washed into drains, creeks and rivers from lawns, roads and industrial sites and eventually ends up in coastal waters.
Heal the Bay suggests governments make provisions for better infrastructure to capture this runoff before it reaches the sea (Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times, May 22).
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Severe thunderstorms capable of causing property damage and flooding will swing into the southeastern United States and Ohio River Valley into Sunday night.
Dangerous thunderstorms and flash flooding will continue to threaten lives and property across the central United States through Saturday night.
While a storm will douse outdoor plans and lead to flooding on some of the Hawaiian Islands, enough rain may fall to ease drought conditions into the start of May.
Milder air will erase the recent chill and snow across Germany by May Day, though rain threatens to spoil the holiday for western and southern areas.
Temperatures will be put on a roller coaster ride in the northeastern United States through the start of May, delivering bouts of summerlike warmth.
While the recent cold snap will be over, bouts of rain will persist and threaten to disrupt outdoor plans across the United Kingdom during the Bank Holiday weekend.
It will feel like the calendar has been turned back to winter instead of moving ahead to May as snow sweeps across the central United States into Monday.
At least eight people are dead after a Cuban military plane crashed in western Cuba on Saturday.