Coast Guard urges public to exercise caution along Northern California coast

Coast Guard Station Humboldt Bay surf training file photo.

Coast Guard Station Humboldt Bay surf training file photo.

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — The Coast Guard urges the public to exercise caution along the Northern California coast as a winter storm is forecasted to impact coastal Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties this weekend.

The public is advised to stay off the water and avoid hazardous conditions near beaches and jetties, as the storm is forecasted to cause gale force winds and 30-foot waves.

“This storm is expected to bring breaking waves of up to 30 feet,” said Kathleen Zontos, a spokesperson for the National Weather Service in Eureka. “This would be a good weekend to stay off the beach. For those who want to view the waves, the safest place would be from a parking area. Always remember to stay clear of jetties, don’t climb on shore side rocks and never turn your back on the ocean.”

Coast Guard Station Humboldt Bay personnel and local mariners have reported waves breaking farther into the bay than in previous seasons and extending into navigational channels.

“We are seeing hazardous conditions inside Humboldt Bay with breaking waves reaching areas that have historically remained protected during winter storms,” said Capt. Greg Fuller, the Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay commander. “This is not the weekend to be on the water. Storms like this one have the potential to turn deadly.”

A storm earlier this week brought waves into the Humboldt Bay entrance channel with enough power to break a 20-foot tall, 3-ton buoy free of its anchor.

If it is essential to get underway, the Coast Guard advises mariners to take appropriate precautions. Always check weather conditions, wear a life jacket and carry a marine-band VHF radio.

The latest weather reports can be found at weather.gov/eka/.

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