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Hazardous surf conditions expected along Southern California coast over Fourth of July weekend

Intense surf conditions are expected along the Southern California coast over the Fourth of July weekend, powered by a strong storm system in the Southern Hemisphere, according to Surfline, a Huntington Beach-based company that provides daily surf reports and forecasts.

A new and “very dangerous” swell are expected to hit the coast early Sunday, followed by larger waves in the afternoon, according to Surfline.

“This situation poses an extreme danger to unsuspecting people that may be walking on steep beaches, over exposed rocky areas, exploring tide pools, or fishing from jetties or break walls,” the company said.

The largest waves are expected Sunday afternoon and Monday, when surf swelling to 4 feet, 8 inches is expected to hit beaches in southern Ventura County, northern Los Angeles County, Orange County and San Diego, the firm said. Areas of Orange County that have southerly exposure could experience 8- to 10-foot waves, with possible surf of up to 15 feet at the Wedge in Newport Beach.

Side shore rip currents would be “extremely strong and treacherous” by Sunday through Tuesday, Surfline officials warned. The surf conditions are being driven by a strong storm system about 6,000 miles from Southern California near New Zealand.

The swell will begin to ease by Wednesday before slowly dropping throughout the remainder of next week, the company said.

Northern and Central California are also expected to experience much larger than normal summer surf, with waves up to 6 feet late Sunday through Tuesday, according to Surfline. Areas such as Santa Cruz could experience waves in the 8-foot range, the company said.

-- Ann M. Simmons

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