Crushing waves from coast to coast send surfers flocking to the shore

Onlookers standing on a sand berm watch as big waves come into shore from Hurricane Marie in Seal Beach, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The National Weather Service said beaches stretching 100 miles up the Southern California coast would see large waves and rip currents. Swimmers and surfers were urged to be aware of the dangerous conditions. (AP Photo/ Nick Ut )

Waves continue to crank on both the east and west coasts, as Hurricane Cristobal and now Tropical Storm Marie pump large swells to the shoreline.

Southern California has only seen a slight decrease in wave heights on Thursday morning, as it looks to be another crazy day at The Wedge in Newport Beach. Early morning reports from Surfline suggest surf heights up to 20 feet, occasionally reaching 25 feet.

According to the National Weather Service in Los Angeles, this week’s event has been the most significant southerly swell in southern California since 1996.

In addition to the fun on the beach, these large and dangerous waves are wreaking havoc on southern California’s shoreline infrastructure. In addition to the damage sustained by Malibu Pier that prompted its closing on Tuesday, the Cove House lifeguard building in Point Mugu collapsed into the ocean on Wednesday night. 

Extensive wave damage has been seen on Catalina Island, as well:

Los Angeles County Lifeguards reports that they had made 30 to 40 rescues with personal watercraft, and 10 to 15 swim rescues as of Wednesday evening.

Video of Wednesday’s surf at The Wedge captures the power of these waves:


On the East Coast, the waves are expected to peak today as surfers flock to the shores from the Mid-Atlantic to Rhode Island.

Hurricane Cristobal is about 550 miles east of Virginia Beach on Thursday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. The hurricane is packing waves around 30 feet close to its center.

On the shore, New Jersey will likely see the highest surf from Cristobal, though significant wave heights are reaching five to eight feet offshore from New Jersey to Rhode Island.

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