Dangerous 12-22 foot surf expected for Central Coast and Ventura County, NWS says

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Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Dangerous 12-22 foot surf expected for Central Coast, Ventura County
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The National Weather Service said the surf will be dangerously high for the Central and Ventura County coasts on Thursday where heights range from 12 to 22 feet.

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- Coastal communities are being asked to plan ahead as a high surf advisory is in effect for Southern California beaches as a swell brings potentially dangerous surf to the coast.

The advisory is in effect from 6 a.m. Thursday until 10 a.m. Friday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported surf will be dangerously high for the Central and Ventura County coasts on Thursday where heights range from 12 to 22 feet.

Breaking waves in excess of 15 to 20 feet could cause pier damage and may lead to coastal flooding, the NWS said. Southern California has seen this type of pier damage before, once in 2015 and again in 2018.

"Like most things, if you don't have to be out of the rain, don't be out in the rain," said Glen Shepherd with the Ventura County Public Works Department. "Don't go out of curiosity and start looking where there might be floods. That's when people get into difficulty."

The agency notes that waves could start breaking further from shore than typically seen, and shoaling - when waves go from deep to shallow water - is possible. Breaking waves at Morro Bay and Ventura Harbor entrances are possible.

At Channel Islands National Park, Eyewitness News captured the waves growing by the hour.

"Well, this is pretty impressive. It's building and it's pretty wild," said a Ventura County resident who spoke with ABC7 on Wednesday. "I wouldn't want to be out there because it's going to be a lot bigger."

The city of Ventura said it'll be closing its pier on Wednesday at around 5 p.m. through Friday.

Temperatures, meanwhile, will remain about six degrees cooler than normal through the weekend.

With rain falling, Los Angeles County health officials issued their standard warning for people to avoid entering ocean water near discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers. An ocean water quality rain advisory will be in effect until at least 7 a.m. Friday.

Health officials noted that stormwater runoff that reaches the ocean can carry bacteria, chemicals, debris trash and other health hazards.

People who come in contact with impacted water in the ocean could become ill, health officials said.

More rain was in the forecast early next week, with a chance of showers Sunday through Tuesday, according to the NWS.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.

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