Huge surf produced by Hurricane Marie is expected to batter the Southern California coastline this week, prompting lifeguards to warn end-of-summer beachgoers about potentially dangerous conditions in the ocean.
Waves as high as 25 feet could roll ashore at beaches such as the Wedge at the tip of the Balboa Peninsula, and reach 8 to 15 feet at beaches along the Los Angeles and Orange County coastline more accustomed to modest surf.
Breakers up to 12 feet are expected at Zuma Beach, and up to 8 feet at Manhattan Beach.
Experts are predicting that the surf will build Tuesday, with swells peaking on Wednesday before tapering off on Thursday and Friday.
Depending on how the storm moves, Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Jim Turner said, “it will give us a pretty good, strong punch.”
Though many beachgoers are headed back to school, Turner said his department planned to staff up at all of the city’s lifeguard towers. Other beach cities also planned to increase lifeguard patrols.
“This looks like a big push through the end of summer,” Turner said.
Over the past weekend, Turner said, large surf generated by Tropical Storm Lowell made for a busy couple days, with more than 100 rescues on Saturday and about 75 on Sunday — approximately double what the department would normally see this late in the season.
Though Turner said that experienced swimmers and surfers — who hit the beach equipped with fins and an understanding of rip currents or other ocean hazards — would “probably be in pretty good shape,” he said most people would be better off staying on the shore.
“The gist is, if you’re not a strong, strong aquatics person with fins, come down and watch from the safety of the shore,” he said.
Weather experts have also warned residents of low-lying areas to prepare for potential coastal flooding.