While the southern U.S. is grappling with a blast of cold air, the California coast is getting pounded with waves. Here is a look at what is happening around the country heading into the last weekend of the year.
Dangerous Waves Pound California Coast
A series of storms are producing large waves and dangerous surf conditions along the coast of California. This weather pattern is forecast to linger into the weekend, putting beach plans in flux over the holiday.
Several people were injured when massive waves crashed over the seawalls, hitting as high as 20 feet. The massive waves sent a surge of water through some of the streets up and down the central coastal region.
Meteorologists refer to the large zone of winds that trigger these swells as "fetch." The swells come together as storms build out in the open seas. These swells are then shoved toward the coastal areas by winds out of the west-southwest.
The long-period swells are more likely to create the dangerous waves when they migrate into the shallow waters near the coast. What results is almost a mini tidal wave that is to reach the coast.
Thursday's swells produced flooding that reached as far as a block or two inland. This compares to shorter wavelength breakers that only impact the immediate beach area.