Coast Guard urges caution along Southern California coast during upcoming storm

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SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Coast Guard is urging beachgoers, swimmers, surfers and mariners to exercise extreme caution while operating along the Southern California coast tonight through Sunday.

The National Weather Service has issued a beach hazard warning and a gale warning for waters from San Mateo Point to the U.S.-Mexico border.

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It is forecasted that a powerful storm will generate 35-mph wind gusts with 5 to 7-foot seas tonight. Conditions are expected to worsen through Saturday, creating hazardous conditions for mariners, swimmers, beachgoers and surfers.

Rough surf, strong rip currentswaterspouts, frequent cloud-to-water lightning, heavy rain, coastal flooding, 46-mph wind gusts and 10 to 13-foot seas are expected during the storm.

“Surfers, boaters and beachgoers should remain vigilant and prepare for the unexpected,” said Lt. Cmdr. Bradley Conway, chief of the Joint Harbor Operations Center at Coast Guard Sector San Diego. “By planning ahead, heeding warnings and not exceeding your own limitations, you greatly improve your chances of remaining safe while out on or near the water.”

Beachgoers are encouraged to obey posted warning signs and flags, swim near a lifeguard, talk to a lifeguard before swimming and use caution when in or near the water.

Dog owners are reminded to protect their pets from rough waves and not to attempt to rescue their dog from a surf zone. It is important to remember to keep calm and allow the dogs to swim out on their own.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always:

* Stay Informed – The public should be aware of weather conditions and monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio and internet. Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out, and be aware that weather conditions can quickly change.

* Wear life jackets while on the water.

* File a float plan with friends, family members and local marinas before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers aboard the vessel, vessel’s destination and expected time of return.

* Always have a working VHF-FM radio aboard; cell phones are not reliable once underway.

* Carry marine flares aboard the vessel.

* Ensure bilge pumps are operational and moored vessels are secure for heavy winds and rain. Check bilges for oil or other pollutants and remove them prior to the expected storm to prevent inadvertent discharge due to automatic bilge pumps.

For more information on the gale warning for offshore boaters go to: http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=PZZ775&warncounty=marine&firewxzone=&local_place1=49NM+SW+Oceanside+CA&product1=Gale+Watch#.Uw5m6XewLSo

For more information on the beach hazard warning go to: http://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=sgx&wwa=beach%20hazards%20statement

For more information on rip currents go to: http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/overview.shtml

 

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