Published on : Friday, August 29, 2014
Huge waves and high surf from storms far offshore are hitting both East and West Coasts from Wednesday. In southern California, 15-feet high waves from Tropical Storm Marie are slamming into beaches from Los Angeles to San Diego, a late-summer treat for surfers in search of big waves.
Marie was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Wednesday afternoon.
It could be be the biggest wave event since 1997, when Hurricane Linda produced monster swells, said Tim Burnham, who’s making a documentary about the Wedge, a famed surfing locale in Newport Beach.
“This is the stuff that you dream of: rainbows, unicorns, Southern Hemi swells, hurricane swells,” he said as he dried off from a session in the waves on Tuesday.
However, “conditions will be very hazardous for swimmers all along the entire coast with very strong rip and longshore currents occurring through Thursday,” the National Weather Service in San Diego warned.
In addition to that, major impacts from the event include the potential for structure damage, significant beach erosion, waves overtopping jetties, and minor coastal flooding during times of high tides, the weather service in Los Angeles reported.
The waves also caused minor flooding in a low-lying beach town and knocked down pilings from under the Malibu Pier.
Residents of about four blocks of homes along Seal Beach, south of Los Angeles, swept seawater out of ground-floor rooms after flooding overnight.
As of late Wednesday, Tropical Storm Marie was located about 960 miles west of the southern tip of Baja California and had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.
Eastern Pacific hurricanes such as Marie seldom have much of an impact on the West Coast of the U.S., as they usually move from east to west and away from land, after forming west of Mexico.
No hurricane has hit the California coast since records began, but a tropical storm with 50 mph winds did come ashore at Long Beach on Sept. 25, 1939, killing at least 45 people, the National Hurricane Center reported.
Meanwhile, on the East Coast, Hurricane Cristobal prompted high surf and beach advisories from southern New England to the mid-Atlantic coast. The advisories will be in effect through Thursday.