Day four of a winter storm system is expected to batter Orange County on Thursday, with what has been predicted to be the heaviest rains of this week. Local officials are bracing for possible flooding, mudslides and other damage.
Huntington Beach is reporting high surf and waves, with at least one wave cresting at 14-feet.
The National Weather Service issued has issued a high-surf advisory through Sunday morning. The potential for coastal flooding is greatest Thursday and Friday when the storm surge is expected to be higher because of the combination of high surf, strong winds, heavy rain run-off and high tides just under five feet, according to the NWS. These forces of nature are also threatening to damage piers, jetties and sea walls.
Storm conditions will also likely lead to extensive beach erosion and local overflow into low lying areas, such as Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Sunset Beach, and beaches down to San Diego County, according to the NWS.
Experts say the surf will be particularly high late Thursday into Friday, where breakers over 20 feet are possible on outside reefs.
Orange County authorities are warning people to stay out of the water because of dangerous rip currents.
By midday Thursday, there had been no major problems, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown and Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.
In Newport Beach, four surfers tried to ride the waves Thursday morning, braving the choppy waters to navigate 5- to 7-foot sets, Newport Beach Lifeguard Captain John Mitchell said.
"It's not really rideable, but these guys figure, hey -- surfers are like that," he said, laughing.