Ventura declares state of emergency as wind, surf continue to batter Southern California coast

Neighbors shovel mud in Ventura.
Brad Steward, right, joins neighbors with shovels last month as they attempt to remove sand to allow water to drain after a seawall and sand berm was breached by high surf on Bath Lane in Ventura.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Already hard hit by recent storms, the city of Ventura declared a state of emergency this week as strong winds and high surf continue to batter the Southern California coast.

A coastal flood advisory is in effect through Thursday afternoon, but while the high surf is expected to continue it will likely not be as severe as what the region experienced in storms that whipped through the area on Dec. 28, the National Weather Service said.

Ventura city officials said their emergency declaration on Tuesday will allow the city to seek emergency funding from the state. The city’s pier was damaged by recent storms, with repair costs estimated at more than $1.75 million, while coastal properties were also damaged by floodwaters.


In addition, eight people in Ventura were injured last month when they were struck by a massive rogue wave that swept over a sea wall and flooded area streets. Several people were hospitalized with minor injuries.

The council’s action will ensure the prompt restoration of the city’s infrastructure, Mayor Joe Schroeder said in a news release. The emergency declaration will remain in place for the next 60 days.

Eight spectators in Ventura were injured after being struck by a massive wave. Officials warn against nearing the ocean during a high surf advisory.

Dec. 29, 2023

Meanwhile, Ventura and Los Angeles counties can expect 7- to 9-foot waves along the coast on Thursday, while the Central Coast could see 12- to 17-foot waves, with the threat of flooding lingering through the morning, according to the weather service. Los Angeles County is likely to see the highest tides of the season Thursday morning, according to the county fire depatment’s Lifeguard Division.

“For the low-lying coastal areas flooding can become a risk, especially with increased wave activity, which is also in the forecast for the first part of the day,” the agency wrote in a social media post.

The high surf will be accompanied by strong, cold winds with gusts of up to 35 to 45 mph across the region, and 60 to 70 mph in some mountain and valley areas. High wind advisories will be in effect for the Santa Monica Mountains, the Malibu Coast, and the Burbank area, according to the National Weather Service. The winds are expected to die down by early afternoon, according to forecasters.

Cleanup from the last storm is still ongoing for many coastal communities across Southern California. The National Weather Service said that west- and northwest-facing beaches were hit hardest during the storm that passed through in the last weeks of December.


Temperatures in the Los Angeles County area are expected to reach the mid-60s Thursday before dropping to the low 40s overnight, and then back to the lower 60s on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures were expected to drop to the teens and 20s in the Antelope Valley and surrounding mountains overnight, said meteorologist Kristan Lund with the weather service. Motorists headed to mountain and ski areas over the next few days should check for chain checkpoints.

Light snow continued to fall on Interstate 5 near the Grapevine in northern Los Angeles County, but the major traffic corridor remained open, according to the California Department of Transportation.

Saturday and Sunday will be dry and cool, and while there is a slim chance of rain north of Point Conception in southwestern Santa Barbara County over the weekend, the forecast for the region looks clear and cold.

“Not too much will be going on this weekend,” Lund said.