Tropical Storm Marie Forecast: Dangerous High Surf, Rip Currents In Southern California

August 28, 2014

Marie weakened into a tropical storm on Wednesday over 800 miles off the Baja California coast, but it is still inflicting serious impacts on some California beaches.

According to the National Weather Service in Oxnard, California, this is the most significant southerly swell event for Southern California in over 18 years. Up to 15-foot maximum sets were observed at Malibu.

As you can see in the video above, flooding from wave action damaged piers, washed boats ashore, some into homes at Pebbly Beach on Catalina Island. This was the first such damage, there, since Hurricane Linda pumped waves toward Southern California on Sep. 14, 1997.

(MORE: High Surf Closes Beaches, Surfer Dies | Beach Town Floods)

Large swells from a southerly direction will continue to impact some California beaches before winding down Friday. Damaging surf, beach erosion, rip currents, and coastal flooding from wave setup will persist.

Here is a breakdown of forecasts from NWS-Oxnard and NWS-San Diego:

- L.A./Ventura Counties: 10-15' breakers (south, southeast-facing beaches)
- Santa Barbara South Coast: 6-10' breakers from Santa Barbara to Rincon
Orange County: 6-10' surf (south-facing beaches)
San Diego County: 4-6' surf, highest north of Oceanside

(NWS ALERTS: California)

This isn't just a Southern California concern, either. South-facing beaches along the central and northern California coast, as far north as Crescent City, Point Arena and Shelter Cove may also see higher swells. Swells are also reaching the Hawaiian Islands.

The bottom line from the NWS: "Swimmers and inexperienced surfers should stay out of the water. Stay off rocks and jetties and away from the water's edge to avoid being swept away by sneaker waves."

Regarding Marie itself, continued weakening is expected, as Marie is moving into a more stable (i.e., air is less prone to rise and support thunderstorms), drier atmosphere and over cooler water. Marie may spin down to a remnant low as soon as Thursday.

Projected Path

The latest forecast path and wind speeds from the National Hurricane Center.


Current Information

So, where exactly is the cyclone's center located now? If you're plotting the storm along with us, the information depicted in the map above provides the latitude/longitude coordinates, distance away from the nearest land location, maximum sustained winds and central pressure (measured in millibars).  


Infrared Satellite

This infrared satellite image shows how cold (and therefore how high) the cloud tops are. Brighter orange and red shadings concentrated near the center of circulation signify a healthy tropical cyclone.

Brief History

Marie strengthened into the eighth hurricane of the eastern Pacific hurricane season last Saturday morning. 

Marie developed from a tropical depression to a tropical storm on August 22, thereby becoming the 13th named storm in a busy eastern Pacific hurricane season.

By August 24, Marie's wind speeds increased to 160 mph, making Marie a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, the first such intensity hurricane in the eastern Pacific since Hurricane Celia in June 2010.

MORE: Hurricane Marie's Impacts in Pictures

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