High Surf Advisory warns of dangerous waves, powerful rip currents along Bay Area coast

Amanda del Castillo Image
Thursday, January 2, 2020
High Surf Advisory in effect until Thursday morning
A High Surf Advisory has been issued for the Bay Area until Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The advisory went into effect at 9 a.m. New Year's Day with west/northwest facing beaches expected to get the largest waves.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- The National Weather Service (NWS) warns large waves and strong rip currents are expected to crash along parts of the coast.

The NWS issued a High Surf Advisory from 9 a.m. on Wednesday through 9 p.m. on Thursday.

There is potential for 11 to 14 feet NW swells, and dangerous breaking waves in surf zones. The NWS estimates up to 25 feet in some locations.

ABC7 News was in Half Moon Bay on Wednesday, connecting with those who ventured out to view some big waves.

"I've surfed a couple times," Jennifer Ewanich from Los Altos told ABC7 News. "These are pretty big. I would not go in these waves."

While Mavericks Beach is known for big wave surfing, just 7-minutes south, Surfers Beach offered a show of its own.

RELATED: Bay Area AccuWeather forecast

Close to 5:15 p.m., few surfers were still riding waves. Others snapped pictures from a safe distance.

San Jose resident, Tamim Swaid and his family captured photos with massive waves in the background.

"My colleague actually was telling us that there are those big waves out there," Swaid explained.

Other areas along the coast have shown similar sights. ABC7 News cameras caught intense waves crashing at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Big waves forced the evacuation and closure of Capitola wharf on Wednesday.

Alarming video recorded on Friday at Bonny Doon Beach in Santa Cruz, highlighted the need for caution. Large waves pushed a man off rocks and into the water.

The NWS also warned waves could take over previously dry areas.

"There's not a beach to walk on right now because the waves are so big," Annette Ewanich said. "So, we're just going to have to stay on the path."

Gijan Jau from Turlock described the waves sounded like the roar of thunder, "Right now, they're hitting the rocks like really hard."

"They look big, like in the movies," Enrique Martinez from Turlock said.

The excitement brought extra traffic to Half Moon Bay on Wednesday.

"We saw all the traffic coming over here," John Ewanich said. "We were wondering what was going on and now we know."

Even with the sun down, visitors to Surfers Beach settled for the sound of crashing waves.

"I'm just really listening to the roar of them as they come in and stuff," Anne Marie Galvan from Pleasanton said. "That's what I'm noticing more."

Beach visitors are urged to stay way back from the water's edge and always face the water. Waves may run up further onto beaches than usual, weather officials warned.

Click here for the NWS official High Surf Advisory.