More powerful surf, dangerous rip currents expected to hit SoCal beaches over weekend


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Just days after powerful waves battered the Southern California coastline, yet another storm is expected to add to the already looming threat of flooding for those near Los Angeles and Orange County beaches. 

The National Weather Service’s high surf warning, which has been in effect for the greater part of the last three days, will continue through Saturday night for much of the region, including Catalina Island. 

“Significant flooding of sea water is likely over vulnerable low-lying coastal areas around the time of high tide,” said the NWS in a statement. “Damage to coastal roadways and structures is possible. Powerful waves and strong rip currents will pose an exceptional risk of ocean drowning and damage to coastal structures like piers and jetties. Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches and rock, and capsize small boats near shore.”

The exceedingly dangerous conditions are expected to bring more flooding to places like Ventura, where a massive rogue wave crashed onto one residential street, sending eight people to the hospital on Thursday. 

Related: Some Ventura County beaches closed as high surf and flooding wreak havoc on the area

Much of the Southern California coast was expected to be pounded by waves between 10 and 15 feet, with some swells even reaching as high as 20 feet. The sheer strength of the waves, paired with the dangerous rip currents, will make entering the ocean difficult even for the most experienced swimmers and surfers. 

Strong surf paired with rain creates threat of flooding along SoCal beaches 03:39

“Stay off of beaches and coastal walkways, roads, and structures. Do NOT drive around barricades or through water of unknown depth,” the NWS said. “Everyone should remain out of the water due to life-threatening surf conditions. Stay off of jetties, piers, and other water side infrastructure.”

Despite this warning, dozens of water sports enthusiasts could be seen enjoying the prime surf conditions in Orange County on Friday, where swells were expected to reach anywhere between 6 and 15 feet. 

Cities like Seal Beach, Sunset Beach and Newport Beach are expected to be most susceptible to flooding due to the high surf.

Experts anticipate that places like Palos Verdes, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan beach could see the highest surf. As a result, the Manhattan Beach Pier has been closed through Sunday out of an abundance of caution. 

Long Beach city officials have urged residents to drive carefully through low-lying areas, like the Alamitos Bay. Those living nearby are urged to “be vigilant and prepare for potential localized flooding” due to the swells. 

On top of the unusually powerful surf, Southern California is also in line for a rain-bearing storm, with some precipitation already begin to fall in northern Los Angeles County early Saturday morning. 

Related: SoCal beaches face ongoing high surf warnings as massive waves threaten the coast

While rain is expected to taper off come late Saturday, another storm system currently looming over the Pacific Ocean could bring even more showers to the region on New Year’s Day, with thousands of people expected to flood the streets of Pasadena for the 2024 Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. 

Seaside business swamped by strong waves in Santa Cruz 00:46

This second storm is expected to be much less significant however, with light showers throughout the day. 

Once again, the weather will dry out come Tuesday before a third storm descends into the area by Wednesday and Thursday. 

More powerful surf, dangerous rip currents expected to hit SoCal beaches over weekend

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