Huge waves pound SoCal coast

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SAN DIEGO -- Beachgoers should beware of strong rip currents, above average surf and coastal flooding again Wednesday along the San Diego County coastline as a swell resulting from Hurricane Marie peaks, forecasters said.

Pounding surf off Newport Beach had already prompted several rescues Wednesday morning as onlookers gathered to watch surfers and bodyboarders take advantage of the huge waves, some estimated at more than 20 feet high.

A National Weather Service beach hazards statement for the county's coastal areas is set to remain in effect through late Thursday night.

"The swell will produce large surf, strong rip currents and strong longshore currents through Thursday,'' according to the weather service statement. "Minor coastal flooding and beach erosion are possible as well.''

Surf of 8 to 10 feet with occasional sets that could reach up to 15 feet are expected to hit the beaches of northern Orange County today, but forecasters said the surf along San Diego County beaches would likely stay under 7 feet.

Forecasters said 4- to 6-foot surf is expected today with the highest surf at beaches north of Oceanside. However, the rip currents and longshore currents expected at local beaches could be particularly strong, according to the statement.

The currents could result in dangerous swimming and surfing conditions, according to the weather service. Beachgoers were advised to obey posted warning signs, use caution in and around the water and to swim near a lifeguard.

The swell is expected to fade today and Thursday, the NWS statement said.