NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Beach-goers are being warned this weekend as Tropical Storm Dolores is expected to bring big waves, dangerous rip currents, and even lightning to the Southern California coast.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a coastal hazard message Friday that a large southerly swell from Dolores is expected to build through Sunday, bringing waves up to 7 feet.
By evening, Newport Beach lifeguards warned swimmers pulled by the strong current to swim away from the pier.
This weekend, it’s expected to get worse.
“We expect to have elevated rip currents and that’s important for the public to know because that’s 90 percent of our rescues,” said Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Mike Halphide.
Halphide said lifeguards are prepared even for lightning.
“It’s really a huge safety concern,” he said.
Last year, one man was killed and a dozen others were injured when lightning struck the ocean at Venice Beach.
“If we do see lightning or hear thunder, we are gonna institute a closing of our beaches,” Halphide said.
The National Weather Service says coastal communities like Newport Beach could see lightning through Monday possibly.