Hilary, Irwin storms bring beach hazards to San Diego

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jul 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-29 12:38:02-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Officials are warning San Diegans heading to the coast this weekend to be aware of dangerous surf conditions brought on by two storm systems.

The National Weather Service issued a beach hazard statement for San Diego County's coastline as swells from Tropical Storms Hilary and Irwin.

NWS said the storms will bring elevated surf conditions to the area beginning 10 a.m. Saturday through next Tuesday evening.

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The highest waves will hit the northern half of San Diego County's coast and Orange County's southern coastline. Strong rip and longshore currents are likely during this time, according to NWS.

Surf heights may reach 2 to 4 feet, with 5-foot sets in San Diego County's central and southern beaches.

Tropical Storm Hilary was downgraded from hurricane conditions going into Saturday, but experts say the storm will still bring rough surf to Southern California. One NWS weather model shows the Hilary and Irwin merging as they continue west toward Hawaii.

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However, the conditions are being welcomed by some locals planning to hit area beaches.

The Supergirl Pro Surf Festival hits Oceanside's coast Saturday, where surfers will be looking for high waves during competition. The Vans U.S. Open of Surfing also hits Huntington Beach Saturday through Aug. 6.

When rip current risks are present, it's recommended that beach-goers:

  • Swim near a lifeguard as well, especially for inexperienced swimmers,
  • Check the beach forecast or speak with a lifeguard about conditions before heading out, and
  • Watch for warning signage.

If you're caught in a rip current, experts say it's important to stay calm. Float, wave your arms and yell to get the attention of a lifeguard or people on shore.