Giant Waves Hit California Coast, Cause Injuries and Flooding

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Giant Waves Hit California Coast, Cause Injuries and Flooding

Large waves break near the beach in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 28, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

12/29/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Giant waves crashed along the California coast Dec. 28, injuring at least eight onlookers and closing several beaches in the southern and central regions of the state.
Workers spent Friday cleaning up as officials prepared for another, possibly stronger round of monster surf Saturday.
A storm arrived along the coastline this week from the Pacific Ocean, bringing huge ocean swells and monster waves to coastal communities Thursday.
Local residents in Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles County, stood along the beaches watching the phenomenon only to be swept away and flung into nearby cars and streets by a giant wave at about 11 a.m.
“There were eight people that were injured during that large wave that came in,” Ventura County Fire Department Spokesman Capt. Brian McGrath told The Epoch Times.
The injuries included lacerations and possibly broken bones, he added.
The surf also pushed two cars into an intersection, destroyed the first floor of the Inn on the Beach hotel, and flooded low-lying areas.
All beaches and coastal areas in Ventura County remained closed Friday and were not expected to reopen until Sunday, according to the fire department.
Beachgoers and surfers enjoy high surf conditions in Newport Beach, Calif., on Dec. 28, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Beachgoers and surfers enjoy high surf conditions in Newport Beach, Calif., on Dec. 28, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A heavy equipment operator removes sand and debris after huge waves caused damage and injuries, in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 29, 2023. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

A heavy equipment operator removes sand and debris after huge waves caused damage and injuries, in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 29, 2023. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

The Ventura County Fire Department used bulldozers Friday to build berms along the shoreline to protect nearby homes from the high surf in the area of Pierpont, a coastal community in Ventura County. The finished berm is about seven feet high and about a mile in length running from San Pedro Street to Greenock Lane.
High surf advisories remained in effect throughout Ventura County.
“Please stay away from the water,” the department said in a post on social media Thursday. “Multiple rescues have been made. Numerous areas have been flooded and resulted in injuries.”
The department also reported heavy traffic northbound on the 101 freeway through Ventura County.
The National Weather Service issued flood warnings and high surf warnings for all coasts in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties Friday, predicting waves as high as 20 feet again this weekend.
“We have a very dangerous swell event coming up with large, destructive waves bringing destructive coastal flooding and life-threatening rip currents,” NWS Meteorologist Dr. Ariel Cohen, who oversees the NWS’s Los Angeles office, told The Epoch Times.
The NWS warned the public to be ready for flooding in coastal areas and low-lying vulnerable locations Saturday.
Large waves break near the beach in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 28, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Large waves break near the beach in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 28, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“If you’re in an area that floods, be ready to seek higher ground and stay away from the beaches,” Mr. Cohen said.
The NWS also warned the public about life-threatening rip currents along the central coast, Ventura County, and the coasts of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties.
The public was asked to stay out of the water to avoid the dangerous surf conditions and to stay off rocks and jetties near the water’s edge.
The Los Angeles area is also expecting light rain into Saturday morning, Mr. Cohen added.
In Northern California, parts of Santa Cruz County were evacuated Thursday, including Capitola Village, but the orders were lifted by the afternoon.
Rain and wind were expected to cause power outages and impact roads in Santa Cruz County Friday.
Beachgoers and surfers enjoy high surf conditions in Newport Beach, Calif., on Dec. 28, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Beachgoers and surfers enjoy high surf conditions in Newport Beach, Calif., on Dec. 28, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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