Southern Calif. high surf expected to subside today
LOS ANGELES — High surf generated by a former hurricane in the eastern Pacific rolled onto Southern California beaches again on Thursday, showing signs of diminishing but still bringing warnings of possible property damage and dangerous rip currents.
Big breakers chewed away at beaches and provided thrills for surfers, body-boarders and shoreline crowds.
Meteorologists, however, said the conditions have peaked and gradually would subside through Friday, with high-surf advisories expected to expire in the evening.
Tropical Storm Marie, downgraded from hurricane status, was spinning more than 800 miles west of Punta Eugenia, Mexico. It was expected to be downgraded further to post-tropical cyclone status during the night, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The storm was moving toward the northwest at about 15 mph with maximum sustained winds dropping to 45 mph.
Surging surf arrived on the Southern California coast late Tuesday and was wildest on Wednesday. Blocks of oceanfront homes flooded in low-lying Seal Beach, south of Los Angeles; pilings were knocked off Malibu Pier; and a boatyard on Santa Catalina Island was battered.
Warnings or advisories were posted for hundreds of miles of coastline. The National Weather Service called it the region's most significant southerly swell event since July 1996.
Lifeguards worked to keep all but the most experienced surfers and swimmers out of the water but still made hundreds of rescues.
Beaches were left with deep gouges and abrupt drop-offs — more typical of the aftermath of winter storms than summer.
At scenic Sycamore Cove below the rugged Santa Monica Mountains, waves gradually stole remnants of an old lifeguard building known as the Cove House, which collapsed into the angry surf overnight.