The Bay Area Issues High Surf Warnings as Roaring Swell Approaches

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A powerful swell came with roaring force and struck California on Tuesday morning, forcing the National Weather Service to issue a mandatory high surf warning to notify the public about the dangerous conditions.

Several meteorologists warned the public about “massive” breaking waves and powerful rip currents across Bay Area beaches and urged people to avoid going near the water on Tuesday. The high surf warning indicates extreme high risk and has been issued to the majority of coasts in the Bay Area and would stay in effect until 9:00 p.m. Tuesday.

National Weather Service meteorologist, Anna Schneider, expected the strongest waves to occur around Mavericks Beach on Half Moon Bay, including breaking waves that could go as high as 25 feet. Experts added south-facing beaches and those protected by coves are at lower risk. However, one such area, the Northern Monterey Bay, was issued a high surf advisory.

The San Francisco Fire Department released a warning that urged residents to go out into areas that posed hazardous conditions. In a statement, the department said, “Coldwater drownings occur each year with these types of events, but are completely avoidable by remaining at a safe distance from the coastline.”

On Monday, a surfer went missing, and the fire department was called to conduct a search and rescue near Ocean Beach and Ortega Stairwell. Fortunately, the department said the individual was able to “self-rescue” himself and was found in good condition shortly after officials were initially dispatched, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The National Weather Service told residents to avoid going near “bone-chilling waters” and avoid going to coastal jetties as much as possible. Meteorologists said people could hear the thunderous clapping on the coasts of Monterey just after dawn.

Schneider said residents could expect to see calmer waves by Wednesday with a maximum of about 11 feet of waves. He said, “We may see larger swells tomorrow, but not to the extent that we’re seeing today.”

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.