Big waves pummel coastline, force Seal Beach pier closure in aftermath of storm

Jaysha Patel Image
Friday, January 6, 2023
High surf pounds SoCal coastline, damages Seal Beach Pier
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Massive waves were pounding the beaches of Southern California on Friday and tore off chunks of wood from the Seal Beach Pier.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Massive waves continued to pound the beaches and piers of Southern California on Friday a day after a powerful storm exited the region.

The big surf forced the closure of the Seal Beach Pier, where large chunks of wood could be seen floating underneath the structure.

Damage to the pier included a boat ramp used by oil-platform workers. City officials will need to assess the structure before they can determine when the pier could be reopened.

In the meantime, big crowds gathered along the shoreline to watch the spectacle, not just in Seal Beach but in ocean communities throughout Southern California.

"This is the biggest South Bay (waves) we've seen probably ever since I was 10 years old," said Hunter Jones of Manhattan Beach.

The high surf advisories for Los Angeles and Orange counties are expected to remain in effect until 6 p.m. Friday.

Forecasters were expecting waves of 8-10 feet, with some even hitting 12 feet.

In the aftermath of a major winter storm, waves on Friday morning were soaring over a 20-foot break wall at Redondo Beach.

"Today was actually one of the first times in 20 years that we were confronted with this amount of storm surge that's breaking significantly over the break wall -- 40 feet, if I had to guess," said one beach visitor.

At Redondo Beach's King Harbor Yacht club, the waves were big enough to flood the parking lot while also slamming into a retainer wall. A marina employee said the damage will be expensive to repair.

Many people turned out to witness the giant waves as they pummeled beaches in the South Bay.

"I just love seeing the spray, the water," said a woman who visited El Porto Beach. "It's almost like seeing clouds floating in the water. It's crazy."

The conditions at that beach were described as unfavorable for even experienced surfers.

Latest forecast for Southern California

In Ventura County, docked boats were seen being rocked and swayed by the storm waves.

Friday's relatively calm weather conditions were a lull that was expected to be brief as more Pacific storms lined up to blast into California, where successive powerful weather systems have knocked out power to thousands, battered the coastline, flooded streets, toppled trees and caused at least six deaths.

"A very active weather pattern across the Pacific Ocean will continue to push energetic and fast-moving low pressure systems toward the West Coast," the National Weather Service said. "California continues to take the brunt of the heavy precipitation and strong winds associated with these systems as we head into the first full weekend of 2023."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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