MALIBU (CBSLA) – Powerful surf washed away a section of roadway in Malibu Thursday as high tides brought huge waves to the Southern California coastline, with more dangerous conditions expected into the weekend.
A portion of Westward Beach Road leading to the Westward Beach parking lot, located between Zuma Beach and Point Dume, was washed away by the strong surf Thursday afternoon.
The city of Malibu has closed the road and parking lot, with repairs not expected to be completed sometime after Labor Day. Point Dume Road is also closed due to erosion. Ten lifeguard towers in Malibu had to be moved back because of the tides.
Beachgoer Angela Telles got familiar with the high surf after waves snuck up on her and swept away her belongings.
“Our chair and everything was swept away with the water, including my cellphone,” Telles said, adding that she also got caught in a rip current that pulled her into the water.
“…and then all of a sudden, I got pulled under and then when I went to get up, I was taken back by another wave and I had to dive into it,” she said.”
LA County lifeguards are on alert as more people head to the beach this weekend to cool off.
“It’s always a good idea to stay in tune with the ocean conditions and, you know, what’s happening with the surf,” lifeguard Pono Barnes said, adding that it’s also especially important to watch for dangerous rip currents. Barnes said that if you’re caught in one of the rip currents, stay calm.
“You’re going to get pulled out past the surf and it may seem scary cuz there are large waves, but stay calm, float and most likely, you’ll get kind of pushed out of that rip current once you get to the end of it,” Barnes said.
Preparations are underway to build sand berms along Newport Beach to protect homes if the swells get too big.
Aerial video from Sky2 also showed huge waves hitting the patio and second story decks of a hotel on Victoria Beach in the city of Laguna Beach.
Due to the high tides, the National Weather Service has issued a beach hazards statement through 11 p.m. Saturday for the Los Angeles County and Ventura County coastlines, along with Catalina and Santa Barbara islands. The NWS said “minor tidal overflow” was possible during evening high tides.
Surf of 3 to 6 feet is likely with sets up to 7 feet in some areas.
“We cannot emphasize this enough: surf and swim in front of an open lifeguard tower,” the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors tweeted. “Check with the nearest lifeguard before entering the water. A beach hazard statement is no joke.”
Westward Beach Road in Malibu was washed away overnight as the combinations of high surf and high tide was too strong to hold it. The pounding is expected to up and down the coast through Saturday! @CBSLA pic.twitter.com/YdWZyoyLAp
— Joy Benedict (@joybenedict) August 20, 2021