Aubergine

California braces for Hurricane Marie

August 27, 2014
Hector Brown sweeps out his aunt and uncle's house in Seal Beach, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The entire house and garage was flooded by a foot of water and muddy sand late Tuesday night after low-lying streets in the Southern California coastal community was inundated by a surge of rising seawater brought on by Hurricane Marie spinning off Mexico's Pacific coast. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

Hector Brown sweeps out his aunt and uncle’s house in Seal Beach, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The entire house and garage was flooded by a foot of water and muddy sand late Tuesday night after low-lying streets in the Southern California coastal community was inundated by a surge of rising seawater brought on by Hurricane Marie spinning off Mexico’s Pacific coast. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

LOS ANGELES (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, waves up to about 25 feet put some surfers in peril. A team of lifeguards swam into the rough surf around 9 a.m. when a worn-out 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.

Scores of other surfers sat on their boards and watched, unfazed as the waves continued to build at the world-famous surf break.

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.

Beachgoers watch large waves crash on the shore at Seal Beach, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Residents in Southern California coastal areas filled sandbags and built sand berms Tuesday to ward against possible flooding from big and potentially damaging surf spawned by Hurricane Marie off Mexico's Pacific coast. A large southerly swell was expected to produce large waves, rip currents and strong longshore currents in Los Angeles and Ventura counties through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Beachgoers watch large waves crash on the shore at Seal Beach, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Residents in Southern California coastal areas filled sandbags and built sand berms Tuesday to ward against possible flooding from big and potentially damaging surf spawned by Hurricane Marie off Mexico’s Pacific coast. A large southerly swell was expected to produce large waves, rip currents and strong longshore currents in Los Angeles and Ventura counties through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

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.

Street flooding was reported in Long Beach, while in Seal Beach, surf flooded some beachfront homes. Crews on bulldozers hastily built berms along Seal Beach overnight in hopes of preventing further damage.

“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.

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