Los Angeles

Storms Bring Damaging Surf, Possible Flooding to SoCal Coast

Waves between 10 and 14 feet, with sets of 16 feet, were expected to pound the Southern California coast, as a high surf warning and coastal flood watch were in effect Thursday.

The largest surf will continue along the west facing beaches, however, high surf is expected on most beaches, according to the National Weather Service.

In Los Angeles County, the high surf warning was in effect through 4 a.m. Friday. In Orange County, that warning will extend until 10 p.m. A coastal flood advisory is due to expire at noon Thursday.

The combination of high astronomical tides, onshore winds and very large surf will cause minor overflow of sea water into low-lying areas, such as beach parking lots, walkways and campgrounds. The very large surf could also cause significant beach erosion and damage to coastal structures, the NWS said.

In Malibu, aerial video showed waves battering homes along the coast, breaking apart at least one wooden staircase and sweeping the pieces out to sea.

NBC4 meteorologist Crystal Egger said the biggest waves will hit Ventura County, with sets as high as 15 to 18 feet, creating strong rip currents and dangerous swimming conditions. Much of the Ventura Pier remained closed Thursday, nearly a month after powerful waves washed over the structure and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

The NWS blamed the high surf on a series of long-period westerly swells. "A high surf warning means that large and battering surf could damage coastal structures and will make swimming and rock jetties very dangerous," a statement said. It added that swimmers who become trapped in rip currents should swim parallel to shore until able to free themselves.

The rainfall has prompted the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to issue a rain advisory for all county beaches through Friday because of storm runoff. Officials are recommending swimmers and surfers stay out of the water due to high levels of bacteria in the waters.

The current storm - the third weather system to hit Southern California this week - slammed into the Southland late Wednesday morning and was dissipating Thursday. The next bout of rain is expected Saturday.

The latest storm has produced between a half-inch and an inch-and a third of rain in metropolitan Los Angeles, between 1 and 3 inches in the foothills, almost 2 inches in the valleys, and roughly between a third of an inch and more than three-fourths in the valleys, according to NWS.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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