Dangerous surf warning brings rare public alert: Stay off Ocean Beach

ByCornell Barnard via KGO logo
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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People were being warned to stay off the sand at Ocean Beach as massive waves pounded the coast.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Big waves were crashing onto Bay Area Beaches Monday, as a dangerous high surf warning remained in effect. It prompted a rare public alert to stay off a popular local beach.

Big waves were breaking near Land's End, the rough surf crashing into Seal Rock, almost swallowing it up.

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"It's pretty rough and wild I'd say," said Phillip from San Francisco.

Further south, there was more wave drama at Ocean Beach where the show was just getting started. A crowd of onlookers was not disappointed.

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"It's amazing, the biggest waves I've seen in 40 years living in the Bay Area, really awesome," said Joe Como from Santa Rosa.

The dangerous surf warning forced the closure of the Great Highway southbound between Lincoln and Sloat.

Electronic signs flashed warnings to stay off Ocean Beach due to the high surf warning where the water was getting close to the seawall in some stretches.

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"Our rescue swimmers may not be able to enter the water for a rescue because of unsafe conditions," said SFFD Lt. Jonathan Baxter.

But many people took their chances on the beach anyway.

"It's beautiful I'm not afraid of it, I've got my back to the water they tell you don't turn your back but I'm doing it anyway," said Jay Altobelli from San Francisco.

We asked the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, why not just close the beach?

"Closing the beach would be a last resort, unfortunately, we don't have the resources to do that," said a GGNRA spokesperson.

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