Historic surf hits California coastline, prompts multiple evacuations

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Dec. 28 (UPI) — Flooding and evacuation warnings are in effect in multiple California counties as dangerously high waves pounded the coast Thursday.

Marin Country residents were ordered to evacuate Thursday morning due to possible flooding at Stinson Beach after forecasters predicted severe weather conditions in the North Bay area. Evacuation warnings extended to Santa Cruz County and Capitola Village through the afternoon.

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The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood advisory for the Coastal North Bay and a high surf warning for the central and northern Californian coastline through 3 a.m. Friday.

Despite multiple evacuation warnings, residents and tourists couldn’t help but stare in awe at the biggest surf to hit the California coastline since January.

“It’s really beautiful. It’s just breathtaking. It shows you the strength of Mother Nature,” Mike Buyer told the San Francisco Chronicle from Pacifica, where high waves surged up into the Pacific Hotel Breeze parking lot and rolled high along the pier.

Thursday’s swell also drew highly skilled surfers at Mavericks Beach near Princeton-by-the-Sea, where the waves can climb to 50 or 60 feet tall. Surfer Grant Washburn, who has surfed Mavericks for decades, said the waves were “historic and a little scary — a lot scary.”

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The high surf also cause serious damage and prompted multiple water rescues along the San Luis Obispo Coast. The flooding overturned a pickup truck in Arroyo Grande Creek and washed RVs into the surf line at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

“The waves and high tide were just overwhelming the beach,” Oceano resident Ed Collins said.

Cal Fire, Port San Luis Harbor Patrol, San Luis Ambulance and a California Highway Patrol helicopter all responded to an incident in which a hiker fell off a cliff at Pirate’s Cove and fell into the water Thursday morning. Additional units were requested to deal with “potential complexity with the waves,” according to The Tribune. The hiker was rescued from the cliff having sustained only minor injuries.

It’s already been a big week for California, and there is more forecasted to come. Thursday’s high tide hit northern California right after it faced southerly wind and stormy conditions on Wednesday. Southern California is expected to dodge the poor conditions hitting the northern coastline. Another swell of the same size class is anticipated for this weekend, with a swell direction that might impact the southern coastline more than the northern.

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Historic surf hits California coastline, prompts multiple evacuations

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