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Surfs up on California coast as dangerous Hurricane Marie lurks well offshore

Hurricane Marie, once a category 5 now weakened to a category 2 storm with further weakening expected, is not expected to make landfall or even come close to land in the United States or Mexico, but dangerous surf and strong rip currents will hit the southern California beaches over the next several days.

Hurricane Marie-slide0
Photo courtesy of AccuWeather.com, used with permission

Before losing a bit of steam, Marie had become the strongest hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Ocean since Hurricane Celia in 2010 with winds over 160 MPH.

Marie will continue to slowly weaken as it comes into contact with cooler waters and drier air this week, though NOAA issued a Coastal Hazard Message, warning of surf sets of 10 to 15 feet high at some California beaches through Thursday.

According to the National Weather Service, exposed south facing shores are at the highest risk and the rough surf could be life threatening. The surf with very strong rip currents and long shore currents will create dangerous swimming and surfing conditions. Sneaker waves can bring unexpectedly large waves across rocks and jetties near the waters edge and suddenly inundate beaches. South swells have had a history of producing damage to boats docked at Port San Luis. Extreme caution should be used when in or near the water.

A high surf advisory is also in effect for Los Angeles and surrounding areas of southern California, where high waves will potentially cause structural damage to piers and beachside property as well as significant beach erosion. Minor coastal flooding is also possible.