It might sound like a surfer’s dream, but it could actually prove to be their nightmare. An unusual “high surf warning” was in effect from Sonoma County through Monterey County on Monday, due to massive waves breaking along the Central California coast. Some waves even reached heights of 30 to 40 feet. While the waves in Southern California aren’t quite so massive, they’re still expected to reach around 12 feet.
Current check on the buoys continues to show a long period swell impacting the waters. ⚠️ HIGH SURF WARNING ⚠️ goes through 9 PM along the coast. DO NOT APPROACH THE SHORELINE TODAY — breakers of 30-40 feet 🌊🌊 possible through the day, even higher at favored locations! #CAwx pic.twitter.com/D9SuB2pCAV
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 17, 2018
According to the Weather Channel, the colossal waves are caused by a huge low-pressure system that originated in the Gulf of Alaska. The storm system piled up water then pushed it onto California’s coast, generating rain across much of the West Coast. Mavericks, one of California’s most famous surf sports, experienced swells as high as 40 feet. Conditions were so extreme that the Big Wave World Tour actually canceled the Mavericks Challenge.
Mike Parsons, the tour’s commissioner, said, “We will not be running the Mavericks Challenge this week and will wait for more optimum conditions…the swell will be dropping through the day on Thursday and we won’t have the consistency we need to run an excellent event.”
The low-pressure system is expected to weaken as it progresses west and reaches the Rocky Mountains.