Holiday weekend brings large swell forecast

Lifeguards are expecting a busy holiday weekend, with a large swell forecast to hit south facing beaches Saturday and warm weather projected inland.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory Friday through 6 p.m. Monday, warning of very strong rip currents and side shore currents pushing people up the coast.

This end-of-summer swell is expected to be one of the largest of the season. Orange County beaches will see a combination of a long-period Southern Hemisphere swell and a shorter-period swell from Hurricane Ileana, which was off the tip of Baja California on Friday.

The National Weather Service is predicting widespread surf of 4 to 6 feet with occasional sets of 9 feet or more on exposed south and southwest facing beaches.

As the swell fills in Friday and Saturday morning, there may be long lulls between large sets. Newport Beach lifeguards expect the waves to peak Saturday evening.

Guards recommend swimmers stay near a lifeguard tower and close to shore, and consider not entering the water if the tower is displaying a red flag.

Coincidentally, the full moon will bring high tides that will increase the threat of flooding in coastal areas. The highest tide will be 5.7 feet about 10 p.m. Friday.

Without any rain, though, Newport Beach General Services Director Mark Harmon says the city does not anticipate floods. As a precaution, crews built sand berms Thursday on each side of the Balboa Pier, and at the parking lot opening at the Newport Pier.

Twitter: @mreicher

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