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Big Waves (And Strong Currents) On The SoCal Coast Lead To Warning

Surfer in a black wetsuit riding a cresting wave.
File: A surfer takes to the water in the morning of December 15, 2019 at Venice Beach, California.
(Bruce Bennett
Getty Images)
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Some good news for you surfers out there: a strong southerly swell bolstered by Tropical Storm Linda means above average surf — 4 to 6 feet, with sets up to 7 feet — for Southern California beaches.

The high surf is expected to last through Friday for Orange County and Saturday evening for L.A. and Ventura counties. South-facing beaches will see the highest waves.

Schaler Perry is lead forecaster for the website Surfline. He says this caliber of swell is something we see only a couple of times a year.

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Be warned, big waves like this can also mean dangerous currents.

"When you have this type of swell event that has so much energy, you're going to get rip currents," he said. "So if you're a novice, if you're not really well versed in kind of spending time in the ocean, especially when there's significant swell or large surf, you do want to stay away."

The National Weather Service has issued a warning about dangerous conditions, cautioning: “there is an increased risk of ocean drowning. Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Waves can wash people off beaches and rocks, and capsize small boats near shore.”

There's also potential for some minor flooding and beach erosion, particularly in the evenings.

The Capistrano Beach parking lot and the lower parking lot for Aliso Beach — which is currently under about a foot of sand — are already closed because of flooding and debris.

What questions do you have about Southern California?