A very large swell is headed toward San Francisco promising waves so big, so bawdy, that the National Weather Service, not known for poetic over-pronouncements, informed folk who live Sonoma and Monterey counties if they go to the beach between 9 am on Sunday and 9 am on Monday then they risk “certain death.”
HIGH SURF WARNING continues in effect along the coast from Sonoma County through Monterey County 9 AM Sun to 9 PM Mon.— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 15, 2018
STAY WELL BACK FROM THE OCEAN OR RISK CERTAIN DEATH. pic.twitter.com/VNroxlXdJs
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A High Surf Warning has been issued along the coast from Sonoma County through Monterey County from 9 AM Sunday to 9 PM Monday. A High Surf Warning indicates that dangerous, life threatening waves will impact the shoreline. It is advised that people remain off of and away from the shoreline during this event. Very long period forerunner waves will arrive through the day Sunday and will bring a significantly increased risk of rip currents and sneaker waves to the coast. The largest waves are then forecast to arrive Sunday night through Monday morning, with peak swells of 17 to 21 ft at 19 to 21 seconds expected.
Large breaking waves of 25 to 40 ft will be possible at west and northwest facing locations, with up to or exceeding 50 ft possible at favored break points along the coast. These large waves along the coast will lead to increased wave run-up on beaches with waves topping and washing over large rocks and jetties. Use extreme caution near the surf zone as these large waves will be capable of sweeping people into the frigid and turbulent ocean water. via NWS
The NWS forecast warns that this weekend will be the “largest wave event this season” on SF shores, with “large breaking waves” ranging from 25 to 50 feet in height, or even exceeding that in “favored locations.”
Although the promise of monster waves may sound attractive to surfers, it is wisest to stay away from beaches during such a storm.