Storms delighted California beachgoers, but they also bring flooding and rip currents

Offshore storms pushed waves towards coastal communities in California, causing flooding, road closures, and fear among nearly 20 individuals who were briefly swept away along a Ventura beach on Thursday. According to officials, eight people were hospitalized.

The swells will not occur for just one day. Instead, some areas of the California coast are expected to experience towering waves, reaching up to 30 feet, throughout the weekend. These waves will bring high water levels and rip currents. Coastal flood alerts and high-surf alerts have been issued from the US-Mexico border to areas north of the Bay Area.

Strong waves, combined with high tides, caused a massive influx of seawater into Santa Cruz, located along the central coast.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation warning for certain areas. This warning specifically applies to an unincorporated area of the county near Seacliff State Beach and Rio Del Mar. The announcement was made through a post on the department’s Facebook page.


The California Highway Patrol Santa Cruz issued a warning about coastal flooding at the Rio Del Mar Esplanade and advised people to stay away from the area.

The authorities issued a warning regarding the flooding at Rio Del Mar Esplanade. They advised people to avoid the area and not to drive across flooded areas. It was emphasized that road closures were in effect, and driving around them should be avoided. The message urged everyone to drive cautiously and prioritize their safety.

Officials took to social media on Thursday to provide details of the evacuation of five campers along the San Luis Obispo coast.

Surfers and onlookers were drawn to the spectacular waves, marveling at the incredible power of nature.

Just northwest of Los Angeles, a group of 15 to 20 onlookers was momentarily engulfed by a massive wave that breached a beach barrier in a Ventura neighborhood affected by high surf, according to police Cmdr. Ryan Weeks.

According to Weeks, the onlookers were swept down the street for a distance of about 30 to 50 yards.

The county fire department shared a video capturing the unexpected wave and the resulting havoc on X. They emphasized that the county’s beaches are presently off-limits. “Due to this wave, eight individuals were taken to nearby hospitals,” the agency reported.

Streets in the vicinity were shut down as a precautionary measure, including a main entryway to the Ventura Pier, in order to discourage people from gathering.

According to Weeks, the main reason for keeping people off the beach is to prevent them from being struck by unexpected waves.

Residents in the area were seen in aerial video footage from CNN affiliate KABC, as they attempted to clean up the foamy, sandy mess left behind.

The National Weather Service in Los Angeles reported that the flooding occurred simultaneously with the arrival of large swells along the Southern California coast.

According to the agency, the swell at Ventura Pier reached approximately 20 feet.

The weather service posted a warning stating that dangerous surf, life-threatening rip currents, and coastal flooding are expected at the beaches this week. They anticipate that the impacts will be most extreme on Thursday.

According to the agency, the central and Ventura County coasts, as well as Hermosa, Manhattan, and Palos Verdes beaches, are expected to experience the most significant impacts.

The central coast is bracing for potentially damaging coastal flooding as forecasters predict waves reaching heights of 15 to 20 feet.

The National Weather Service in Los Angeles issued a forecast stating that beach conditions will become extremely dangerous on Thursday morning and will continue through the weekend.

Officials are advising individuals who visit the beach to avoid entering the water as the surf conditions are hazardous and there is a risk of life-threatening rip currents. There is also a potential for beach erosion.

The weather service has issued a warning to prepare for significant sea water flooding, particularly in low-lying areas such as beaches and harbors, especially during high tide.

According to CNN affiliate KGTV, Ocean Beach, near San Diego, was filled with curious onlookers and surfers eager to experience the scene.

Only a select few who brought a board were able to venture into the turbulent waves.

Gerry Giuliano, speaking to the affiliate, shared his experience when his friend invited him to check out the massive wave. He immediately realized that it was too big and powerful for him. The fact that it was hitting the pier was a clear indication of its size and strength. The wave was closing out and breaking rapidly, adding to its impressive nature.

Northern California is anticipated to encounter its fair share of challenges.

The Bay Area is currently experiencing a coastal flood warning that will remain in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday. Experts anticipate significant coastal flooding throughout the evening, with conditions expected to gradually improve thereafter.

A high-surf warning will remain in effect in the Bay Area until 3 a.m. on Friday.

The weather service has warned of dangerously large breaking waves in certain areas. Wave heights are expected to range from 28 to 33 feet, with the possibility of reaching up to 40 feet in some locations. San Francisco, Monterey Bay, Point Reyes, and Big Sur are among the areas that will be affected.

The Bay Area National Weather Service office has issued a coastal flood advisory that will be in effect until 2 p.m. on Friday. This advisory is due to the combination of high surf and the potential for storm surge. It covers an area from west of Cloverdale to Big Sur in the south.

An evacuation order for a portion of Marin County near San Francisco was issued but was later lifted.

In January 2023, a devastating storm wreaked havoc along the California coast.

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