SOUTH L.A. — On Thursday, a large swell formed by the turbulent Pacific Ocean pushed toward shorelines, triggering some flooding, while powerful surf swept onto beaches in Hawaii and the West Coast.
Because of the risk of "sneaker waves"—occasionally considerably bigger waves that can surge far up the sand and wash someone off a beach—forecasters warned that people should avoid rocks and jetties and should not face away from the water.
The National Weather Service issued a high surf warning for portions of Northern California, predicting waves between 28 and 33 feet, with some spots seeing waves as high as 40 feet. Low-lying coastal areas were also reported to have experienced floods.
Debris covered the ground after surfers in Aptos, located at the northern end of Monterey Bay, washed ashore and into a nearby parking lot. Residents of various coastal locations in Santa Cruz County have been issued evacuation alerts.
"Mother Nature's angry," remarked Eve Krammer, a longtime Aptos resident. To put it bluntly, these waves are nasty. Huge, aren't they? In January of last year, the ocean pounded the same region while other atmospheric rivers pounded the West Coast.
Echoing a fellow Aptos homeowner, Jeff Howard expressed his empathy for those living in the lower terrain.
Although not quite as large, the waves in Southern California were nonetheless characterized as dangerous, with rip currents that could prove fatal. Still, surfers couldn't help but get caught up.
Alex Buford, a 27-year-old surfer from Los Angeles County, said that the secret to success was to be patient while surfing the waves north of Manhattan Beach.