Just in time for the holiday weekend, high surf is expected to pound Southland beaches through Sunday, creating ideal surfing waves but also dangerous conditions for swimmers or those just hoping to wade into the water.
“Dangerous rip currents and breaking waves are expected due to elevated surf of 3 to 6 feet with local sets to 7 feet,” according to a National Weather Service beach-hazard statement.
The high surf conditions were originally expected to recede Thursday night, but the NWS later extended its beach warning through Sunday night.
“There is an increased risk for ocean drowning,” according to the NWS. “Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Large breaking waves can wash people off beaches and rocks, and capsize small boats near shore. Pooling of sea water is possible around high tide at beach and harbor areas that is uncommon with normal tidal ranges. Enhanced beach erosion is also expected. No significant damage is expected.”
According to the NWS, a beach hazards statement is issued when threats such as “rip currents, longshore currents, sneaker waves and other hazards create life-threatening conditions in the surf zone.”
Forecasters advised beachgoers to swim near lifeguards.
“If caught in a rip current, relax and float. Don’t swim against the current. If able, swim in a direction following the shoreline. If unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help,” forecasters said.
Similar conditions will prevail in Orange County, where a beach hazard statement will also be in effect through Sunday evening, with above-average surf of 3-6 feet expected as a result of a long period southwest swell.
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