Storms Send Waves Crashing on West, East Coasts

PHOTO: Surf watchers are splashed at the pier in Malibu, Calif., Aug. 27, 2014.
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Monstrous waves are pounding both U.S. coasts, with storms churning in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

California spectators have lined the shore at the Wedge in Newport Beach, where 20-foot waves are crashing into the coastline, drawing some of the world's best surfers.

See What It's Like to Surf 'The Wedge,' California's Monster Waves

"It's as big as Southern California ever gets," Peter Mel, a prominent big-wave surfer just back from an event in Tahiti, told the Orange County Register. "It's perfect."

PHOTO: Onlookers watch as big waves come into shore from Hurricane Marie in Seal Beach, Calif., Aug. 27, 2014.
Nick Ut/AP Photo
PHOTO: Onlookers watch as big waves come into shore from Hurricane Marie in Seal Beach, Calif., Aug. 27, 2014.

In Malibu, legendary surfer Laird Hamilton stepped in to save one surfer in distress.

“He was thankful,” Hamilton said. “His eyes were big and he was appreciative to be back on the land.”

PHOTO: A surfer rides a wave at the wedge in Newport Beach, Calif., Aug. 27, 2014.
Chris Carlson/AP Photo
PHOTO: A surfer rides a wave at the wedge in Newport Beach, Calif., Aug. 27, 2014.

The waves are the result of Tropical Storm Marie, which is passing 800 miles west off the California coast, triggering rough surf and up to 15-foot swells.

The waves mangled a pier and damaged buildings in Malibu, while residents of Seal Beach are experiencing major destruction.

“Waves were 12 to 14 feet and basically nothing held them back,” Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steve Concialdi said. “It went straight toward the houses.”

One surfer in Malibu drowned Tuesday because of the deadly rip currents.

PHOTO: Spectators on the beach scramble as a wave covers the beach in Seal Beach, Calif., Aug. 27, 2014.
Ken Steinhardt/The Orange County Register/AP Photo
PHOTO: Spectators on the beach scramble as a wave covers the beach in Seal Beach, Calif., Aug. 27, 2014.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic Ocean is dealing with Hurricane Cristobal, with the rough currents blamed for numerous deaths in the ocean this week.

Cristobal is tracking north as a Category 1 Hurricane with maximum sustained wind of 75 mph per hour. While it won’t come close to U.S. landfall, the storm is generating hazardous surf conditions along the East Coast. The storm was located about 400 miles off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, this morning.

Cristobal is the third Atlantic hurricane of 2014 after Arthur and Bertha both became hurricanes. The last time the season's first three storms became hurricanes was 1992, more than 20 years ago, when Andrew, Bonnie and Charley blew in.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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