CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) There is a high surf warning until Tuesday at 11 a.m. Expect 20-30 foot waves this week with strong rip currents and possible coastal flooding.
Breaking waves can sweep people off jetties and docks, and into dangerous seas. Those waves also create life-threatening swimming conditions and significant beach erosion.
Our weather team recommends, "Everyone should remain out of the water due to life-threatening surf conditions. Stay off of jetties, piers, and other waterside infrastructure."
Peggy Conner took time to visit the beach in Monterey after the rain went away, only to find the waves to be the highest she's ever seen.
“I wanted to see the whitecaps because I knew there would be with all this wind rain and it's beautiful, look at that," she said. "The beach is gone, the beach is totally gone. This is always walkable and today it isn't .”
Francisco Valdez is also a regular beach goes. Every day on his lunchtime he drives down to admire the waves and get a little bit of peace and quiet. But the beautiful ocean can also be dangerous especially for tourists, he said.
“You hear it all the time," said Valdez. "They try to get up on the rocks here. It's a beautiful view but, if you get out there too close the ocean can turn on you.”
The US Coast Guard station in Monterey said they usually have a person in the water at least once a week. But this week there’s an increased danger because of the storm we just witnessed and because summer beach gradients are still kind of shallow from the calm summers.
“We have a high potential for sneaker waves and recurrence," said US Coast Guard Commander Mathew Peryea. "It doesn't matter how strong of a swimmer you are, knee-deep water will take you off your feet. And then you know the subsequent rip current will drag you out to sea, it does not matter how strong of a swimmer you are, with the turbulent water and the coldness you quickly become incapacitated.”
According to Commander Peryea, they have crews on 24-hour stand by which includes a motor lifeboat crew and a Coast Guard helicopter on standby in San Francisco.