Antonio Castelan, Khallid Shabazz
A high surf advisory is in effect this weekend for west-facing beaches in Southern California. That didn't stop surfers from taking to the water. Antonio Castelan reports from Manhattan Beach for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2012.
A high-surf advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. Sunday for the Southern California coast as waves up to 12 feet and strong rip currents hit west-facing beaches.
Officials advised people to avoid going into the water for at least three days because of high bacteria levels due to runoff from the rain.
For those willing to go into the water anyway, lifeguards warned of dangerous rip currents and advised less experienced surfers and swimmers to stay out of the water as a storm in the northern Pacific Ocean churns up powerful waves along the California coast.
It wasn’t enough to keep surfers away, though, as Southern California saw its first real swell in weeks.
Surfers flocked on Saturday to the historic beachbreak, Manhattan Beach, as waves scraped the bottom of the pier with its 15-foot high pylons.
"It’s good," said surfer Eric Persons, as he sized up the waves before a "dawn patrol" surf session. "The tide’s a little bit high. It’s a little bit closed out. But I’m sure a little bit later it’s going to get better."
Spectators gathered along the water to watch surfers ride -- or attempt to ride -- waves that reached more than 10 feet.
Local sets of up to 15 feet were expected in a few locations near the Ventura harbor and southern Los Angeles County. Surf was expected to diminish beginning early Saturday evening.
Forecasters predict a chance of showers on and off through the day Saturday and expect another frontal system to arrive late Sunday.
A dense fog advisory was issued for the San Bernardino and Santa Ana mountains and foothills. Travel could be difficult through the Cajon Pass because of reduced visibility, the National Weather Service advised.
The L.A. region could see temperatures hovering from the low 50s overnight and 60s during the day at least through Monday when forecasters say the storm could clear up.
Snow levels in some mountain areas of Riverside County could drop to 7,500 feet.
The storm was wreaking havoc in Northern California where up to 9 inches of rain and high winds have canceled and grounded some flights at San Francisco International Airport.
Big waves prompted San Diego officials to temporarily shut down the Ocean Beach Pier as a precaution.