El Niño Is Slamming Us With Surf
So far this might not be the monster El Niño storm season some have predicted.
But that doesn't mean Mother Nature isn't churning out heavy weather. It's just that it has been striking in the ocean and not so much on land.
Forecasters this week warned of 6- to 10-foot waves in Los Angeles and Ventura counties through Tuesday. Sets reaching 15 feet were possible in Southern California, according to the National Weather Service.
"A large swell originating from a storm system in the Gulf of Alaska will produce large and possibly damaging surf for the west- to northwest-facing beaches of southwest California through early this week," the weather service said in a statement. "West-facing beaches of L.A. and Ventura County can expect surf heights of 6 to 10 feet, with max sets to 15 feet possible for exposed west-facing beaches such as those near the Ventura Harbor."
The waves could cause flooding and damage to oceanfront structures such as piers, forecasters warned. High tides in the early morning today and tomorrow won't help, they said. "Minor coastal flooding is possible," the weather service stated.
A storm associated with the waves is moving down the coast, producing a 20 to 40 percent chance of rain in Los Angeles County this afternoon, according to the NWS. "Any rain that does fall across L.A./Ventura counties should be fairly light," the federal weather service stated.
Private forecaster AccuWeather, however, called for "another dry week ahead ... with no major rainstorms expected in the near future."
High pressure and offshore winds should move in by Thursday, producing temperatures as high as the mid-70s in the Los Angeles Basin, federal forecasters said.
In the meantime, all the action appears to be in the water.
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The U.S. Coast Guard over the weekend warned people to use caution around harbors. Coast Guard officials said there were "breaking seas inside the harbor" at Ventura, for example.
"Swimmers and inexperienced surfers should stay out of the water," the National Weather Service stated. "Beachgoers should also stay off of rock walls and jetties, as sneaker waves can knock people into the water and result in drowning."
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