High surf advisory for Bay Area

January 3, 2008 5:52:04 PM PST
The National Weather Service has a high surf advisory in effect right now for the Bay Area.

The large size of the waves has chased away the usual crowd of surfers.

"I haven't seen a single surfer this morning - which is very rare and I'm out here everyday," Carolyn Keefe, Pacifica.

But they draw in a new group of people who are usually too busy to stop and notice.

"I'm doing some work between appointments and I heard on the news the waves would be high - so they are and that's why I'm here take a break with my blackberry - see company, I'm working," said Linda Larson, Millbrae.

Linda Larson watched the show from the safety of her car but Joe Sestrich decided to enjoy the moment right on the edge.

"The waves are just fabulous. They prompt thought actually, so I've been watching for about three hours this morning. I hope they get bigger, I've been splashed a couple of times," said Joe Sestrich, Bend, Oregon.

The National Weather Service has issued a warning to stay off the rocks and watch these impressive swells from a safe distance. Their wave models show some waves are 16 feet high - and could grow to 20 feet this afternoon. The high surf advisory is in effect until 4:00 Wednesday - leaving plenty of time for you to pause and watch.

"Reconnecting me, which is important once in awhile in our busy lives we don't get a chance to. This is exciting when it gets this far up and you can put your windshield wipers on when the waves crash over - it's not very often we get this," said Larson.

Back to the Mavericks contest, the opening ceremony is actually this Friday. Some of the Mavericks surfers are viewing the weather as a warm-up opportunity. They are out in Half Moon Bay and will try to go out even though it is very foggy there. Mavericks' organizers say that because of the fog and because of the size of the waves they would not start the contest today anyways - it's just too dangerous. That contest could kickoff anytime between Friday and March - there will be a 24 hour notice.

Wet weather related incidents around the Bay Area:

  • Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains was a real mess, there were two pile-ups involving 22 cars - both were southbound, near Glenwood Drive. The first crash involved 15-vehicles, it was being cleared when another accident happened in the midst of the backup, this one involved seven cars. The CHP says drivers were going too fast around blind curves, not leaving room to stop when they saw the accidents.
  • Flooding has also been reported on several Bay Area streets and freeways this morning. The heavy water from cars on Interstate-880 in Oakland sent water splashing down onto unsuspecting drivers on Fifth Street. Heavy flooding also shut down lanes of Interstate 280 in parts of San Francisco this morning.
  • There are weather delays in and out of the Bay Area today. At SFO, the rain caused arrivals to be delayed over an hour. There's also a big snow storm on the East Coast. So we're seeing hour-long delays into Newark, New Jersey. Flights to La Guardia in New York have been worse delayed up to 90 minutes.