Hurricane Marie Brings High Surf, Coastal Flooding To SoCal Coas - KMSP-TV

Hurricane Marie Brings High Surf, Coastal Flooding To SoCal Coast

Posted: Updated:
Long Beach, CA -

(FOX 11 / CNS) Big waves swelled by distant Hurricane Marie kept lifeguards busy at Orange and Los Angeles county beaches today as surfers braved the roiling waters, and officials warned inexperienced swimmers to stay out of the ocean.

Los Angeles County lifeguards reported making 115 ocean rescues on Tuesday, when the large waves began pounding the coast, and several more had already been made by mid-morning.

At the Wedge in Newport Beach, officials said waves were ranging from 10 to 20 feet, but some people on the beach said the waves were reaching up to 25 feet. Thousands of people crowded onto the sand to watch the display, causing traffic jams on surrounding streets.

A team of lifeguards swam into the rough surf about 9 a.m. when a worn-out body surfer was unable to make it out of the water. Once they reached the man, they were unable to get him back to shore, so they actually guided him farther from the beach to a waiting rescue boat.

The body surfer sustained a "minor injury," and lifeguards on the rescue boat treated him before dropping him off with Newport Beach paramedics inside the harbor, according to Newport Beach spokeswoman Tara Finnigan.

At 10:30 a.m., a stand-up paddleboarder/surfer got caught in a "strong current" and was unable to "free himself from his board/leash," Finnigan said.

Lifeguard freed him and guided him back to shore with his board, she added.

The high tide was at 11:04 a.m., but the large sets are expected to continue through today and into tomorrow, Finnigan said.

In Malibu, where a surfer died on Tuesday, surfers continued to brave the waters. Among them was professional surfer Laird Hamilton, who helped pull a struggling swimmer from the ocean shortly after he entered the water.

County lifeguards warned that only the most experienced swimmers and surfers should be in the water, preaching the advice: "If you are in doubt, do not go out."

The Malibu Pier remained closed because the pounding surf damaged one of the pilings on Tuesday. Because of the waves, Portuguese Point, Sacred Cove, Pelican Cove and Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes will remain closed until Friday.

Parking was at a premium near most surf breaks, with cars jamming public lots at Newport Beach and cars lining Pacific Coast Highway through 21-mile-long Malibu.

Some veteran surfers said the waves were the biggest they had seen in 20 years or so.

The biggest waves are breaking on south-facing beaches, and forecasters expect the energy from the storm to peak today, though a high surf advisory will remain in effect through Friday.

"There is a potential for damaging and life-threatening surf across south- and southeast-facing of Los Angeles and Ventura counties," the National Weather Service stated, adding that breakers of 10-15 feet are possible.

"Surf this large will have the potential to cause structural damage and significant beach erosion," the statement said, and low-lying areas risk some minor coastal flooding around high tide.

Some flooding occurred overnight in Seal Beach, with surging ocean water reaching beachfront homes. Crews on bulldozers hastily built berms along Seal Beach overnight in hopes of preventing further damage.

In Long Beach, crews worked throughout the morning to build berms on beaches, and officials said no water had reached the street in the Long Beach Peninsula. As a precaution, Ocean Boulevard was closed to everyone but residents between 55th Place and 72nd Place.

"In addition, very strong rip currents and long shore currents will likely create extremely dangerous and life-threatening conditions ...," according to the NWS statement.

Catalina Express temporarily halted its runs between Long Beach and Avalon because the surging seas -- waves were crashing over the breakwater at the ports -- were making it difficult to dock the big ferries. Passengers were advised to contact the company at (562) 485-3300 for the latest information.

From Bob DeCastro:

Swells created by hurricane Marie created huge storm surges along South facing beaches of the the Southern California coast. In Seal Beach, water rushed onto the beach around 11 PM Tuesday night, damaging oceanfront homes. A damage assessment will be conducted later today. Basements, garages, and ground floor apartments were reportedly under inches of water.

The Orange County Fire Authority brought in dozens of work crews to lay down sandbags in order to protect homes. High tide expected to come in at 11am, and there are fears there could be yet another big surge.

Heavy equipment was brought in to build a large 10 foot berm stretching from the seal Beach pier to 14th St. More than 5000 sandbags are being used to protect homes.

Officials are urging people to stay away to allow crews to do their work. There is also a concern big swells and riptides could be dangerous to inexperienced swimmers.

From Sandra Endo:

Long Beach residents in the low lying peninsula area on Ocean Blvd are preparing for high tides and swells to hit the area which is prone to flooding.

Long beach parks officials have been working to build sand berms to protect waterfront property that may be threatened by the remnants of hurricane Marie.

Marine safety Cheif Randy Foster says "these berms are higher and thicker than ever before. We are taking every precaution and also giving out sandbags to residents. We anticipate waves as high as 12 feet today and tomorrow but we think we are prepared."

Residents say they are used to occasional flooding but think it's worse when rain and flash flooding is in the equation.

Waves were already intensifying Monday because of hurricane Lowell but now hurricane Marie is promising to pack a bigger punch.

Long beach officials say they will monitor the situation around the clock until the area is in the clear and all weather threats subside.

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