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Local News

Big Waves Expected on Santa Barbara Beaches in Wake of Hurricane Marie

A high surf advisory is in effect through Friday

Santa Barbara County's coastal areas could see some big waves as a result of Hurricane Marie, which is now moving through the eastern Pacific Ocean off of Mexico's Baja California coast.

That hurricane has been downgraded to a category two storm as of Tuesday morning, and is expected to continue tracking northwest but weaken as it moves.

In the meantime, surf of 6-to-10 feet will be likely in southeastern Santa Barbara County from Santa Barbara to Rincon Point, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's going to start building this afternoon and should peak tonight," said Stuart Seto, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"As far as coming up from the south, it's been several years since we've had anything like this," he said, adding that the last hurricane to bring waves of this size occurred in 1997.

A high surf advisory is in effect for the area from 4 p.m. Tuesday through 6 p.m. Friday, and forecasters expect damaging surf with very strong rip currents and significant erosion of south-and-southeast-facing beaches.

Those hoping for rain from the hurricane's wake are likely to be disappointed.

Forecasters were hoping for some moisture from the storm, especially in Northern California, but "there's a high pressure system shooting in-between us and the storm and will keep all moisture away from us," Seto said.

Areas likely to see the biggest waves are beaches of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, with the biggest surf peaking Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday.

In those locations, there is the potential for the highest surf seen in recent years with maximum wave sets of 10 to 15 feet.

The National Weather Service listed the highest-risk areas for high surf as Palos Verdes Peninsula including Long Beach, Cabrillo Beach, and Point Fermin, Malibu and Zuma Beaches. Port Hueneme, Point Mugu, Oxnard Shores, and County Line are also at risk.

The service warned that the high surf could result in very strong and dangerous rip currents and minor coastal flooding across low-lying areas.

"The eastern portion of the Santa Barbara South Coast may also see unusually large surf and strong rip currents during this event," the forecast said.

People are urged to stay away from rocks and jetties during the advisory period and swimmers and inexperienced surfers are also advised against entering the water, the service said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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