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Unusually strong waves coming to the Central Coast this week

Avila Beach
A recent storm in the Pacific Ocean has generated a huge swell that's produced an unusually long distance between waves. The result is powerfully strong waves that are set to strike the Central Coast this week (Dave Alley/KEYT)

AVILA BEACH, Calif. -- A recent storm in the mid-Pacific Ocean is set to bring powerful waves to the Central Coast this week.

"It generated a huge swell and these waves are very long period, some of the longest period of waves I've ever seen before," said PG&E Meteorologist ​​​​​John Lindsay. "Consequently the wave lengths will be over 3,000 feet, which is very unusual. You don't usually see wind-generated waves with these types of wave lengths and those large waves will begin to arrive along our coastline tonight."

According to Lindsey, the waves should peak at 10-12 feet along the coastline on New Year's Day and last through Thursday.

"10 to 12 feet may not seem that significant or that impressive, but the period of these waves will be immensely long and they'll have a tremendous amount of power associated with these waves," said Lindsey.

Lindsey added the added energy these waves will bring could pose significant impacts along the Central Coast.

"Some of the impacts of these long, period and powerful waves will be coastal erosion, sneaker waves, strong rip currents and heavy surge along the coastline," said Lindsey.

With the chance of dangerous conditions, he is advising people to think twice about going into the water despite the excellent weather in the forecast.

"There will be lulls between these long period waves that could actually give you a false sense of security, but when those large sets do come in, because they are such powerful waves, they'll tend to move farther up on the beaches that you normally see, so it's very important to be aware of these sneaker waves," said Lindsey.

For those who are still interested in visiting a local beach on the New Year's Day holiday or other day this week, Lindsey offers some advice.

"So you absolutely have to be aware," said Lindsey. "Never turn your back to the ocean and please be careful if you're venturing down to the coastline and please keep a safe distance away from these large waves. You don't want to become a statistic."

California / Environment / Outdoors / Safety / San Luis Obispo County / Santa Maria - North County / Travel

Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.