Huge waves wreak havoc on California's coastline, second wave expected today

Web Desk
The image shows massive waves pounding the central California coast. — Reuters
The image shows massive waves pounding the central California coast. — Reuters

Massive waves, towering up to 25 feet high, relentlessly crashed upon California's shores, leaving a trail of havoc from Los Angeles down to southern Oregon. 

The West Coast faced severe flooding, littering beaches with debris and logs, disrupting roads as far north as Oregon.

These massive waves began pounding the coast on Thursday, flooding beaches in Los Angeles and spreading chaos as far north as southern Oregon. Logs scattered along roads served as stark reminders of the powerful onslaught.

The extreme waves are the result of potent cyclones over the North Pacific combined with unusually high tides, setting the stage for hazardous conditions along the coastline.

The National Weather Service in Los Angeles described it as an unprecedented event not witnessed in many years. Although conditions briefly improved on Friday, forecasters are anticipating another surge in wave intensity on Saturday with a second powerful swell on the horizon.

Ariel Cohen from the Weather Service’s Los Angeles office warned of life-threatening situations at the beaches, urging everyone to stay away from the water and brace for coastal flooding.

Emergency responders have already conducted multiple ocean rescues in Southern California. High-surf warnings, ranging from 15 to 25 feet, remain in place for various counties, with coastal flood warnings and advisories issued until the weekend.

Climate change might also be playing a role in these heightened sea levels, as noted by UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. He suggested that rising sea levels, possibly linked to the ongoing strong El Niño, could be contributing to the inundation experienced in parts of California.

Moreover, while the waves arrived during fair weather on Thursday, rain is forecasted for parts of the state on Friday and the weekend, potentially worsening the flooding.

Dalton Behringer from the National Weather Service’s Bay Area Office explained that smaller creeks and streams along the coast aren't draining as swiftly as usual due to the coastal run-up, further exacerbating the situation.

Looking ahead, a storm system hovering over the North Pacific is expected to unleash heavy rain, thunderstorms, and mountain snow across California. Northern regions could see rainfall ranging from half an inch to nearly 5 inches in some coastal mountain areas, with up to 18 inches of snow projected for higher Sierra peaks.

Given the vulnerability of coastal communities still reeling from past flooding events, this ongoing assault of nature serves as a stark warning for potential future flooding, necessitating vigilant preparedness and caution among residents and authorities alike.