‘Waves are dynamic and extreme:’ High surf in Ventura area leads to rescue of 8

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Fire personnel rescued eight people after high surf caused flooding in coastal areas in Ventura, temporarily forcing out residents near Ventura State Beach and the Pierpoint neighborhood.

Eight people were rescued near San Pedro Street and Seaward Avenue on Thursday with no life-threatening injuries reported, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Brian McGrath.

“It ended up being a total of eight patients due to surf that came over the wall and flooded the streets,” McGrath said.

The Ventura County Fire Department was called at 10:52 a.m. to San Pedro Street, he said. The injured were taken to hospitals in Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Residents in the neighborhoods near Seaward Avenue, Zephyr Court and San Pedro Street were advised to leave, said Cmdr. Ryan Weeks with the Ventura Police Department. So were patrons of Inn on the Beach in the Pierpont neighborhood.

Roads in and around those areas have been closed, including Seaward Avenue at Pierpont Boulevard.

The police department assisted the fire departments with traffic control and getting residents out at 11 a.m., he said.

“Waves were coming onto the road,” Weeks said. “I think we’ve been out there all day.”

Why’s the surf up?

Waves crashed in the Ventura area Thursday at heights between 9 and 15 feet with sets up to 18 feet, said Carol Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“There’s pretty big surf coming through the (Santa Barbara) channel,” she said.

The swells are churning up because of a storm system over the Pacific that’s moving in a westerly direction. Another system is coming right behind it, Smith said. 

The surf was expected to die down a tad to 6 to 15 feet Friday and ramp up to 10 to 15 feet Saturday with higher sets close to 18 to 20 feet, she said.

The storms may peter out by the time they reach the coast, but there’s a chance of some showers Sunday night into Monday morning, Smith said. 

Closures announced

Faria Beach campground closed on Thursday because of high surf and flooding, according to the County of Ventura, which oversees the site. The campground was expected to remain closed until Saturday.

California State Parks also shuttered its beaches in Ventura and evacuated some of its campgrounds. The agency is asking everyone to stay out of the water and off the sand, District Superintendent Dena Bellman said.

“We are asking that everyone heed those warnings and that they stay away from the beach areas,” Bellman said. “There is a lot of flooding in the roadways. The waves are dynamic and extreme.”

Lifeguards had been on rescues much of the day and that work continued Thursday afternoon, she said. The agency had made a decision to close some of its beachside campgrounds ahead of the storm surge.

“We started moving campers out yesterday,” Bellman said Thursday.

The campground closures are expected to remain in effect until Sunday. They include Emma Wood at North Beach and the group camp area as well as day-use at San Buenaventura. At that point, officials plan to reassess conditions. Mandalay State Beach near Oxnard also was closed.

Cheri Carlson contributed to this report.

This report will be updated.

Wes Woods II covers West County for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at wesley.woodsii@vcstar.com, 805-437-0262 or @JournoWes.

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‘Waves are dynamic and extreme:’ High surf in Ventura area leads to rescue of 8

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