Environment & Science

SoCal weather: Big waves, dangerous currents and record highs

In this file photo, surfers wait for waves at Huntington Beach, California, on September 10, 2015. Thanks to El Niño, forecasters say high tides and surf will be the new normal for the next few months.
In this file photo, surfers wait for waves at Huntington Beach, California, on September 10, 2015. Thanks to El Niño, forecasters say high tides and surf will be the new normal for the next few months.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The highest surf event of the season is on its way to Southern California starting Thursday night and continuing through Sunday.

Surf up to 12 feet is expected in areas south of Point Conception, while surf 16 to 22 feet are forecast for California's Central Coast.

"This is probably one of the highest surfs I've seen in the couple of years I've been here," Kathie Hoxsie of the National Weather Service in Oxnard told KPCC. "That wind on top of the high surf can really make it hazardous."

High tides and surf are expected to be the new normal for the next few months thanks to El Niño, Lydia Barillas with the Los Angeles County Lifeguards told KPCC.

She said that water will be moving around more than normal, and that it will be warmer.

"It's not gonna be as cold as it usually gets," said Barilla. "So a lot more people will be able to enjoy it, which is good but we end up having to watch more people."

Record highs

As high surf comes to the Southland, temperatures are also rising. On Tuesday, Woodland Hills and Camarillo broke record highs set 26 years ago with highs of 88 degrees and 86 degrees, respectively. Sandberg, with a high of 71 degrees, beat the record set in 1958.

The weather service said that this year's meteorological fall — September, October and November — was one of the warmest, if not the warmest, on record.

"We've just been on this spell," said Hoxsie. "The last few years we've been warmer than normal."

This story has been updated.