Tropical Storm Lowell sends high surf to Southern California beaches

High surf advisory issued for south-facing beaches as Tropical Storm Lowell churns off Baja

A tropical storm churning off the coast of Baja Mexico is producing larger swells off Southern California, prompting advisories for high surf and strong rip currents.

Tropical Storm Lowell was about 900 miles southwest of Los Angeles on Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Though it will be stirring up the water, the storm is too far away to bring much-needed rain to Southern California or significantly lower temperatures.

"We're expecting sunny skies over the weekend," said Scott Sukup, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard. "The storm is still pretty far away... but we'll have a pretty good southerly swell going through Sunday afternoon."

The high surf advisory for south-facing beaches in Los Angeles and Ventura counties will be in effect through 5 p.m. Sunday. During that time, beachgoers can expect surf of 3 to 5 feet with local breakers up to 7 feet at south-facing beaches through mid-morning Friday. The surf will then increase to 5 to 7 feet, with breakers up to 9 feet through Sunday afternoon, according to the weather service.

Forecasters warned that the higher surf would also create strong rip currents, and there was increased risk of so-called "sneaker" waves -- so named for appearing out of nowhere and washing people off the shoreline.

The south-facing beaches most affected will include: Malibu, Zuma and Cabrillo beaches in Los Angeles County, as well as Point Mugu and Port Hueneme in Ventura County.  Long shore currents could also affect west-facing beaches, according to the weather service.

The weather service warned that if caught in a rip current, a person should swim parallel to the shore until free of the powerful current. Swimmers should also stay near lifeguards, officials said.

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