Big swell brings dangerous surf and rip currents - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Big swell brings dangerous surf and rip currents

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SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - Christmas came early for experienced swimmers and surfers, but it was dangerous for the untrained beachgoer.

A northwest swell brought bigger than usual waves and strong rip currents to San Diego County's beaches Monday, posing a danger to swimmers, meteorologists said.

The National Weather Service scheduled a beach hazards statement for the county's coastal areas through Tuesday morning, saying 4- to 6-foot surf with 16 to 18-second lulls was likely, especially south of Del Mar.

A beach hazards statement is issued whenever threats, such as strong rip currents, elevated surf heights, tidal overflow or lightning, are possible at local beaches.

Often, the water is most dangerous when it looks smooth on the surface. That tends to be where the rip currents are the strongest.

"Strong rip currents and elevated surf will create dangerous swimming conditions, especially for inexperienced swimmers," an NWS advisory said. "The long period of the swell will create long lulls in wave activity followed by high wave sets that may catch swimmers off guard."

Lifeguards say if you don't know where to swim, don't guess -- just ask them.

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