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High surf, possible flooding expected along Southern California coast

January 12, 2010 | 10:45 am

Forecasters were warning beachgoers to stay out of the water in anticipation of dangerous surf on Southern California beaches starting tonight.

A high-surf advisory is in effect from 8 tonight to 9 a.m. Friday as a very large west swell combines with high tides over the next few days, the National Weather Service reported.

Waves are expected to reach 8 to 12 feet at Los Angeles and Ventura county beaches and as high as 17 feet on exposed, west-facing beaches. Dangerous rip currents are predicted on all beaches through Friday. During the peak of the event, surf is expected to reach an average height of 15 to 20 feet along the Central Coast.

"Even the most experienced swimmers should stay out of the water during this event," according to the National Weather Service.

Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the agency, warned people to stay off of coastal rocks and jetties.

"All of a sudden a big wave comes that can wash you right out from the rocks or carry you out to the ocean," he said.

The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood watch for late tonight through Friday afternoon.

"Residents in low-lying beach areas susceptible to coastal flooding should act now to protect property," according to a statement from the National Weather Service.

A tenth to a quarter of an inch of rain is forecast for the Los Angeles basin starting tonight, but it is not expected to be enough to contribute to any flooding.

--Tony Barboza

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