LOCAL L.A. Now

Swell that produced huge waves in Hawaii to hit California coast

A strong storm system over the central Pacific will send a swell that is expected to produce waves of 10 to 19 feet along the California coastline, forecasters warned.

Breakers of 7 to possibly 12 feet are expected to start hitting the shores along Los Angeles and Ventura counties Thursday night, with peak sets coming on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Along the Central Coast, breakers could hit 19 feet.

A high surf advisory issued by the weather service will be in effect from 6 p.m. Thursday to 3 a.m. Sunday, with forecasters warning of strong rip currents and possible beach erosion.

The swells could also produce so-called sneaker waves, which are capable of washing people into the sea from rocks, jetties and beaches.

The swells are being generated by a huge storm surge that already has produced some of the largest waves to have hit Hawaii in decades.

Waves up to 40 feet tall crashed into shore lines Wednesday, creating flooding in coastal roads and parking lots. Waves up to 50 feet high were feared on the famous North Shore of Oahu and at other islands. 

According to one buoy northwest of the island of Kauai, the surf heading toward Hawaii was at its highest level since 1986, Tom Birchard, a senior forecast for the National Weather Service in Honolulu, told the Los Angeles Times.

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jason.wells@latimes.com

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