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High surf from Hurricane Norbert to hit Southern California coast

They're back! Hurricane Norbert expected to send larger waves to Southern California beaches

Forecasters are warning of high surf, strong rip currents and the possibility of coastal flooding along Southland beaches as Hurricane Norbert intensifies off Baja California.

The surf, however, won't be nearly as awe-inspiring as it was last month when Hurricane Marie sent huge swells that pummeled Southern California's coastline with waves more than 20 feet high. Instead, the National Weather Service said the latest hurricane-generated swells may produce waves of 4 to 7 feet, particularly along south- and southwest-facing beaches.

A hazard notice for beaches will be in effect from 2 p.m. Thursday to 3 a.m. Tuesday, with swells peaking overnight Friday, the weather service said.

The weather service warned that high tides of between 6 and 7 feet could produce minor flooding in low-lying coastal areas.

There also will be a risk of "sneaker waves," so named for appearing out of nowhere and washing people off the shoreline. The threat is higher along steeply sloped beaches and on rocks and jetties near the water’s edge.

The beaches that will be most impacted by the swells include Port Hueneme and Point Mugu in Ventura County, and Zuma Beach, the Malibu area and Long Beach through Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County. 

The south and eastern shores of Catalina Island will also be "strongly affected," according to the National Weather Service. The island sustained heavy damage last month from swells generated by Hurricane Marie. The Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 157 mph was the strongest to hit the eastern North Pacific basin since Hurricane Celia in 2010.

Hurricane Norbert remains much smaller, but continued to gain steam early Thursday with sustained winds of 80 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It's expected to pass just west of the Baja peninsula Thursday afternoon and into Friday before heading out to sea.

For news as it happens in California, follow @JasonBretWells.

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