A high surf warning is set to go into effect along California’s Central Coast on New Year’s Day as forecasters warn of potentially dangerous waves up to 20 feet tall.
From Wednesday through Friday, high surf is expected to develop along the coastline from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo counties, according to the National Weather Service.
The tallest waves are anticipated on west-facing beaches above Santa Barbara into San Luis Obispo County, where “dangerously large breaking waves of 15 to 20 feet with dangerous rip currents,” are possible, forecasters said.
A high surf advisory is in effect for that area through 2 p.m. Wednesday, when it will turn into a high surf warning. The warning is scheduled to expire 2 p.m. Thursday.
Potential impacts include strong rip currents that pose an “exceptional risk” of drowning to swimmers, as well as damage to coastal structures, according to NWS.
Large waves of 8 to 10 feet are expected to develop along Ventura County beginning Wednesday, with local sets of up to 12 feet possible.
The south coast of Santa Barbara along with Los Angeles County beaches will get relatively smaller waves of 4 to 7 feet on Wednesday and Thursday, the weather service said.
A high surf advisory is already in effect for coastal Ventura County, and one will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday in L.A. County, according to NWS. Both are expected to last through Friday night.
The conditions could create rip currents, and inexperienced swimmers are advised to stay out of the ocean during periods of high surf.
Anyone who gets caught in a rip current should relax, float and not attempt to swim against it, the weather service said. If possible, try to swim in a direction that follows the shoreline. Swimmers who can’t escape should try to get help by calling or waving to beachgoers.
High surf to gradually develop at area beaches through Wed. High surf advisory issued for #CentralCoast and #VenturaCounty beaches tonight through Fri. High surf likely at #LACounty beaches Wed-Thu. #CAsurf #surfsup pic.twitter.com/nqAxMcIbSA
— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) December 30, 2019