The swell will build quickly Tuesday, sending waves 7-10 feet crashing toward the San Diego County coastline; Orange County will see waves even greater than that, topping out between 20-25 feet by Wednesday afternoon. The swell is expected to peak Wednesday and lifeguards are warning beachgoers to be cautious.
“’Understand that the ocean is big and powerful and unpredictable,” said Sergeant Jon Vipond.
FOX 5 Meteorologist Kyle Hunter said the swell will largely bypass Southern San Diego County, but that doesn’t mean swimmers are in the clear.
“Some favored spots, like Point Loma to La Jolla area, could see 7 foot surf at times, mainly late Wednesday and Thursday,” said Hunter.
Hurricane Marie is sending the waves toward the beach at an angle, “which tends to drive pretty strong longshore currents. These are currents hat actually move parallel to the beach. Theses can work in conjunction with rip currents,” said Vipond.
In order to stay safe, swimmers should focus on a landmark and keep eyes on it the entire time they’re in the water.
“It’s always a good idea to keep a landmark on land and just make sure you’re staying in front of that landmark,” Vipond said. “If you’re starting to drift away, you’re probably being pulled along by that longshore current.”
Longshore currents can push unsuspecting swimmers into a rip current, which will pull them out into deeper waters, making for a dangerous combination.
Experienced local surfer Bryan Taylor said in addition to spotting landmarks on the beach, its important to keep eyes peeled on other surfers and swimmers.
“We definitely use the buddy system. That always helps.”
Lifeguards also warn swimmers and surfers to avoid unfamiliar areas and stay away from piers, where waves can crash hard, causing heavy damage. Instead, stay where lifeguards can keep an eye on you.
And when in doubt, stay out of the water.