High Surf Predicted to Hit Northcoast

The U.S. National Weather Service is advising beachgoers and sailors to be cautious on the North Coast today due to a large surf expected to peak at 16 feet by noon.

A strong Pacific storm created a large westerly swell across the northeast Pacific Ocean that NWS meteorologists anticipate will create breakers up to 23 feet high along the North Coast, according to a NWS weather advisory. The advisory is in effect from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.Meteorologist Joseph Clark of the Eureka NWS Forecast Office said the swell makes it easier to get swept away due to colder and more turbulent waters. Jetties also become more hazardous due to wave wash.

”It’s not a safe day at the beach,” he said.

People are advised to stay away from jetties, surf zones and low-lying areas near the beach, according to the advisory. Recreational activity on or near the beach or surf zone are discouraged during the advisory.

Mariners are advised to be extremely cautious near the bay and harbor entrances as bar conditions could be hazardous.

The storm causing the swell came from the Gulf of Alaska and was at one point up to hurricane force, Clark said.

”It spent some time building up there,” he said.

A Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said they were aware of the predicted high surf and would be “monitoring low-lying areas” during the advisory period.

The swell is expected to subside Thursday night.

Allison White can be reached at 441-0506 or awhite@times-standard.com.

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