Hurricanes Marie and Cristobal lash both coasts with large waves

Waves generated by the Category 2 Hurricane Marie took out seven wooden pylons holding up the Malibu pier, but surfers are taking advantage of the big swells at Southern California beaches Tuesday. (Reuters)


Surfers are flocking to the shores in southern California and the Mid-Atlantic as large waves are breaking from hurricanes Marie and Cristobal. But along with the fun comes the risk, as strong rip currents enhance the danger of powerful waves.

Hurricane Marie, which peaked at category 5 status over the weekend, is inundating the southern California shore with waves up to 15 feet, as well as flooding. High tide peaked at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, though according to the L.A. Times, coastal areas were already flooded out as of Tuesday night:

In Seal Beach, where rushing tide waters flooded the ground levels and garages of several homes Tuesday night and early Wednesday, officials were busy building sand berms from the pier to 14th Street to protect against the high tide.

Destructive waves rose 3 feet over the boardwalk overnight, causing seawater to enter home doorways and garages, said Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority. An assessment team planned to inspect the area Wednesday morning, he said.

Related: Incredible imagery of category 5 Hurricane Marie

The waves turned deadly near Malibu Pier on Tuesday, where an unconscious surfer was pulled from the water, unable to be revived.

Surfers at The Wedge in Newport Beach, Calif., are feeling Marie’s power. On Wednesday morning, was reporting “good to epic” conditions, with waves of 20-25 feet, occasionally reaching 30 feet.



Waves are building on the East Coast on Wednesday and are expected to peak tomorrow in the Mid-Atlantic. (Mary Dunham, Shore Shot Images, via Twitter)

In the Mid-Atlantic, the waves are just starting to get their legs, and are expected to peak on Thursday, as Hurricane Cristobal tracks northeast through the Atlantic. Cristobal was 300 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. on Wednesday afternoon, with maximum winds of 80 mph.

Cristobal is packing waves over 30 feet near its center. The hurricane is expected to push waves of four to six feet toward the shoreline, where high surf advisories and rip current statements are in effect up and down the coast.

While these waves aren’t 30-footers like they are seeing in southern California, the dangerous rip current that they create can still sweep even the strongest swimmers away from the shore.

Forecast wave heights. (Weather Underground)

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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