Hurricane Marie brings wicked waves to southern California coast

Surfers in California are expected to see some of the largest waves in recent year this week as former category five Hurricane Marie makes it way up the west coast. (Reuters)

The largest surf in recent years is expected to hammer the southern California coast this week, as waves from former category five Hurricane Marie reach the shore. Ten to 15 foot waves are possible along the Los Angeles shoreline from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday.

Hurricane Marie, which was once a category five with 160 mph winds, is tracking northwest in the Pacific, and is currently just over 900 miles south of Los Angeles, Calif. While Marie has weakened over the past couple of days, the storm is still packing waves over 30 feet.


Wave height forecast animation through Thursday. (Weather Underground)

The National Weather Service highlighted the risk for high surf and rip currents with strong language on Tuesday (emphasis ours):

THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGING AND LIFE THREATENING SURF ACROSS SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST FACING SHORES OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES. THESE AREAS WILL POTENTIALLY SEE THE LARGEST SURF SEEN IN RECENT YEARS WITH BREAKERS OF 10 TO 15 FEET POSSIBLE. SURF THIS LARGE WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO CAUSE STRUCTURE DAMAGE AND SIGNIFICANT BEACH EROSION. LOW LYING AREAS MAY ALSO EXPERIENCE SOME MINOR COASTAL FLOODING NEAR TIMES OF HIGH TIDE. IN ADDITION…VERY STRONG RIP CURRENTS AND LONGSHORE CURRENTS WILL LIKELY CREATE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING CONDITIONS FOR ANYONE.

 

Watches, warnings, and advisories in effect for the Los Angeles area on Tuesday afternoon. (National Weather Service)
Watches, warnings, and advisories in effect for the Los Angeles area on Tuesday afternoon. (National Weather Service)

High surf advisories are in effect for most of the coastline around Los Angeles, where waves will likely peak around 10 to 15 feet. The Los Angeles Times reports that waves could be higher along shorelines that are more favorable for breakers:

Waves as high as 25 feet could roll ashore at beaches such as the Wedge at the tip of the Balboa Peninsula, and reach 8 to 15 feet at beaches along the Los Angeles and Orange County coastline more accustomed to modest surf.

The Weather Service is expecting significant beach erosion in some areas due to the powerful waves. The threat of rip currents remains high, as well, and has prompted advisories for the beaches.

You can watch the surf (and the surfers) on Surfline.

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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Angela Fritz · August 26, 2014