Massive waves flood California beach towns as evacuations ordered

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SAN FRANCISCO – Up and down the California coast, monster waves battered beach towns Thursday churned up by a powerful storm in the Pacific Ocean.

From San Diego to Los Angeles and beyond San Francisco, the National Weather Service issued Coastal Flood Warnings and High Surf Warnings for breaking waves between 28 and 33 feet. Some locations were forecast to see waves as high as 40 feet.

The massive waves overtook beaches and coastal roads. Some even crashed against homes and businesses.

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The debris deposited on streets was so heavy that road crews used plows to clear the scenic State Highway 1, south of San Francisco. Other stretches of the road were too buried to clear.

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Officials issued evacuation orders for several northern and central California coastal communities.

“We put evacuation warnings into place around 8 a.m. this morning for this area, and, as you can see, these waves are incredibly powerful,” Ashley Keehn, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Information Officer, told KTVU FOX 2. “They’re washing logs up here. A lot of debris, a lot of driftwood. So we’ve been asking people to avoid the direct coastal area.”

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Not everyone heeded the advice, however, and ended up soaked.

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The waves kept coming. Take a look at this aerial picture of Ventura, California. The swells come in sets, one after another.

Ventura County rescue crews were kept busy with both rescues and injury calls as waves smashed windows and glass doors of homes and swept onlookers off piers and beaches. 

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A wave in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, topped the pier. The NWS estimated that it was 20 feet high.

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Coastal Flood Warnings and High Surf Warnings in Northern California expire late Thursday and early Friday morning. The NWS warned that the next set of big swells will arrive Saturday. The Los Angeles NWS office is not taking any chances, and Southern California warnings are in place through Saturday night. The worst of the flooding occurs at high tide.

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Massive waves flood California beach towns as evacuations ordered

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