High Surf Impacts Balboa Peninsula

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wedgeThe city of Newport Beach has released this warning about high surf conditions (like this photo taken by NB Indy photog Larry Sherwin at The Wedge this morning) and the resulting traffic and parking impacts to Balboa Peninsula:

A National Weather Service advisory warns that Hurricane Marie, currently located off of the coast of Mexico, is causing large surf and strong rip currents along the Southern California coastline. Some coastal flooding is also possible in Orange County.

Large swells typically attract onlookers to Newport Beach’s coastline and the Newport Beach Police and Fire Departments are advising visitors to the Balboa Peninsula to anticipate heavy traffic and severely limited parking.

Motorists could potentially experience traffic delays of two hours or more, depending on the number of visitors to the area. Officers will have a heavy presence in the area to ensure vehicles keep moving and not block roads. Visitors are encouraged not to drive to the peninsula, but to use public transportation, bicycle, or walk to the area.

Deputy Police Chief David McGill said, “There will be very heavy traffic all along the Balboa Peninsula and public parking will be scarce. We ask visitors and residents to please be patient, drive safely and to only park in available public spaces and parking lots. We don’t want to see anyone getting a ticket or towed.”

There will be little or no parking available from A Street (near the Balboa Pier) east to Channel Road (the end of the peninsula), and there is no “drop off” point to allow passengers to get out.

The high surf is predicted to peak on Wednesday and gradually diminish on Thursday and Friday of this week.

Chief Lifeguard Rob Williams said, “Only highly experienced swimmers should enter the water during this type of surf condition. The ocean can be highly volatile and swimmers must know their personal limitations. That surf is powerful and causes strong rip currents that pull along the shoreline and out to sea. Swimmers should avoid areas with piers, rocks and jetties as they can cause serious injuries.”

Any swimmer caught in a rip current should stay calm and swim parallel to the shore until they are out of the rip current, Williams said.

Newport Beach Lifeguards offer the following safety tips to always remember:

  • Check with a lifeguard before entering the water.
  • Swim near a lifeguard.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Use a floatation device.
  • Surfers and body boarders should have a leash on their boards.
  • Body boarders and body surfers should wear swim fins.
  • Parents should never leave children unattended while at the beach.
  • Don’t dive head first into any unknown water.
  • Don’t dive toward the bottom into oncoming waves.
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