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High surf expected along Southern California coast

High surf expected along Southern California coast
David Volk of San Francisco watches as the Ventura Pier is pounded by heavy surf on Jan. 7. The area is expected to see more big waves this week. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

High surf will hammer the Southern California coast Monday and Tuesday, bringing with it the potential for dangerous rip currents and minor coastal flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

Surf of 15 to 20 feet, with local sets up to 25 feet, is expected along the Central Coast, forecasters said. Los Angeles and Ventura counties could see surf of 6 to 10 feet, with local sets up to 15 feet, for west-facing beaches, such as those near the Ventura Pier, which has been battered in recent weeks by El Niño-driven storms.

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This week's big waves are being brought courtesy of a storm system in the Gulf of Alaska, said Rich Thompson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The high surf is expected to peak Monday afternoon and gradually subside, returning to normal levels by midweek, Thompson said.

The National Weather Service has issued a high surf warning for the Central Coast and high surf advisories for areas south of Point Conception in Santa Barbara County.

Beach erosion and minor coastal flooding in low-lying areas is possible, Thompson said.

Forecasters are urging swimmers and inexperienced surfers to stay out of the water and beachgoers to stay off rock walls and jetties because of the potential for dangerous rip currents and so-called sneaker waves capable of sweeping people into the ocean.

Beachgoers, forecasters said, should not turn their back to the ocean.

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