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Ocean Beach Bulletin

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Big Swell Brings High Surf, Danger to Ocean Beach

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Grant Ly/Ocean Beach Bulletin

A large swell is producing big waves along the California coast, including Ocean Beach.

A large swell is pushing its way onto Ocean Beach in unseasonably sunny weather, a combination that brings the potential for both big surf and danger for casual beachgoers.

The National Weather Service issued a high-surf advisory Thursday afternoon for the period up to 6 p.m. Friday. Friday's morning high tide will come at 8:49 a.m.

"Large northwesterly swells will create a dangerous near-shore environment," the NWS warned. "These conditions will result in strong rip currents and possible sneaker waves. Steeper beaches, particularly northwest-facing ones, will potentially see large breaking waves. …

"A high-surf advisory means that high surf will affect beaches in the advisory area, producing rip currents and localized beach erosion."

KTVU television's chief meteorologist and regular Ocean Beach surfer Bill Martin said the fact that big waves will be accompanied by unseasonably warm weather may draw people to the beach, but they should think twice about getting too close to the water.

"I've seen bigger swells come in, but this will be the biggest of the year," Martin said. “The riptides will be ridiculously, ridiculously dangerous."

Martin also said there is a potential for significant erosion in the area south of Sloat Boulevard.

"The south lot there is going to get hammered," he said.

That potential hammering may have given a sense of urgency to a construction crew that was installing a set of gigantic sand bags at the base of the bluff just south of the Sloat Boulevard parking lot Thursday. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is installing the sand bags as an erosion-control measure to protect the wastewater pipes that run under the Great Highway.

Listen to Tom Prete describe rip currents on Ocean Beach.

Source: Ocean Beach Bulletin [http://oceanbeachbulletin.com/2012/01/06/big-swell-rolls-in-to-ocean-beach-bringing-high-surf-and-danger/]

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