Spectacular giant waves in California – The Post


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Starting Thursday, many beaches in northern and central California began receiving waves several meters high, which are particularly spectacular and exceptional in both their size and intensity. The waves attract the curiosity of dozens of people who gather along the beaches and lookouts, risking being swept away: meteorologists and local authorities have warned not to get too close to the coast or enter the water, as waves of this magnitude are dangerous even for the most experienced surfers and swimmers . In some areas there has already been damage, flooding and rescue operations.

People watch the waves at Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles on Thursday, December 28

People watch the waves at Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 28 (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

At Mavericks Beach, which is located south of San Francisco and is very famous for surfing, there were waves between 9 and 12 meters. Waves of about 6 meters and more were observed both in the rest of the Bay Area – the area of ​​California where both the city of San Francisco and Silicon Valley are located – and in the Los Angeles area. The phenomenon is expected to continue through at least Friday, and higher-than-normal waves may also arrive in southern San Diego County over the weekend.

The waves not only risk damaging piers, docks and what is close to shore, but could also cause widespread flooding and contribute to coastal erosion.

People watch the waves from an observation point north of Carmet near Santa Rosa, Thursday, Dec. 28

People watch the waves from a lookout north of Carmet, near Santa Rosa, Thursday, Dec. 28. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)

The first damages are already reported. In Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, waves hit streets and flooded homes, prompting the various rescue interventions. County Fire Captain Brian McGrath said the eight people rescued suffered more or less minor injuries and that all beaches in the area were closed until further notice. Access to other scenic areas, such as Point Lobos Nature Reserve, has also been banned as conditions are deemed too dangerous to visit.

Ventura, Thursday, December 28th

Ventura, Thursday, Dec. 28 (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Evacuation orders were issued Thursday for both Santa Cruz County and the area near Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco, where residents and tourists were urged to “leave immediately for their own safety.” The Stinson Beach ordinance was later lifted at the end of the day.

Waves at Manhattan Beach Pier, Los Angeles, Thursday, December 28

Waves at Manhattan Beach Pier, Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 28 (AP Photo/ Richard Vogel)

Alexis Clouser, a meteorologist who works in Monterey, said The Washington Post that they are «not the highest waves I have ever seen, but certainly the biggest». Clouser explained that they can be “deadly due to both their size and strength”. It’s better “never to have your back to the ocean,” the local National Weather Service (NWS) division wrote on X.

NWS Bay Area also shared a video of two children swept away by waves at a scenic Santa Cruz location, calling it “a prime example of why we ask people to stay out of the water!” Waves can “EASILY knock people over and carry them away ,” the agency wrote on X. The children on the video appear to have been unharmed.

A recent study showed that waves along the California coast have gotten bigger since the 1970s due to climate change. According to the study, the phenomenon is mainly related to more frequent stormy conditions and the strengthening of the pressure trough typical of the period in the region of the Gulf of Alaska known as the Aleutian trough.

The waves these days appear to be associated with winds that cross the Pacific Ocean, with strong low pressure along the west coast of the United States, and with the presence of moist air currents that bring or will bring rain to Northern California.

Waves in Ventura, Thursday, December 28 (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Waves in Ventura, Thursday, December 28 (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

– Read also: Effects of climate change on surfing


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