King tides bring big waves, rip currents

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SAN DIEGO – King tides combined with high surf created dangerous conditions along the San Diego coastline Monday.

King tides are the most extreme tides produced on the coast and occur around the time of the solstices.

Since the winter solstice arrived Sunday at 3:03 p.m., San Diego has experienced high surf and high tides, Fox 5 Meteorologist Jason Handman said.

The higher than average surf and rip currents are creating dangerous conditions, especially for people with little experience in the water.  Beachgoers are being asked to, use caution and to swim near a lifeguard.

“The conditions were pretty big. Definitely a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be.” Surfer Jake Keville hits the surf at least once a week. As experienced as he is he says today’s waves were a lot wilder than usual. “If it’s your first time don’t head out because it can be pretty dangerous. “ said Keville.

With it being a holiday week and with so many people visiting San Diego County beaches, lifeguards have a warning for the public. “If you come down to the beach just remember check with lifeguards, see where the areas are that are safe. If you’re not an experienced ocean swimmer, again check with us first, and don’t go out too far, be very cautious..” said San Diego Fire and Rescue Lifeguard Sgt. Bill Bender.

Along the Southern California coast, a combination of high astronomical tides and elevated surf are churning up strong rip currents and even flooding at low-lying areas along beaches but it’s the unusual warm waters that are creating additional problems. “Really right now the 63 degree water temperature is very unusual , and it’s very inviting to people and that’s the biggest hazard is they get in the water feel so comfortable, and they just get overly confident and therefore they’re more apt to get in trouble.” Said Sgt. Bender.

A beach hazards statement is scheduled to remain in effect through Tuesday morning. Forecasters say 4- to 7-foot surf with occasional sets to 8 feet are likely between La Jolla, Point Loma, Pacific Beach, Mission and Ocean Beach.

If you’re not experienced it’s best to go ankle deep wade in the water, if you do feel compelled once again though you want to check with lifeguards for the areas that are safe. We’ll point out rip currents to you and well give you some good safety tips. “ said Sgt. Bender.

The king tides are expected to last through Tuesday and then return on January 19-21 and February 17-19.

Wind advisory issued in San Diego


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