Two National Weather Advisories Issued for Ventura County

National Weather Service Warning for Ventura County

(Ventura County, Ca) Make sure your air conditioner is in good working order because if you are in Ventura County over the next week, you are going to need it. The National Weather Service has put out two hazardous weather advisory statements for this week.

According to the statement, “Very dangerous heat and elevated fire danger expected for much of southwestern California late this week (and) into this weekend.”

The notice goes on to say “A strong upper level high pressure system is forecast to expand westward from the Central United States later this week, causing heat to build significantly across Southwestern California. A fairly deep marine layer and onshore flow will keep temperatures near or below normal across most of the region through Independence Day. On Thursday, the atmosphere will begin to warm, the marine layer will become more shallow, and onshore flow will decrease. This will lead to noticeable warming on Thursday, especially inland, where high temperatures should approach 100 degrees.”

For neighboring Santa Barbara County, conditions may be more severe. The advisory includes, “Gusty north winds are expected to develop across southern Santa Barbara County and possibly through the Interstate 5 corridor Thursday night. Winds could approach advisory levels in some of these areas Thursday night, and the combination of gusty winds, high temperatures and low relative humidity will increase fire danger substantially, possibly approaching critical levels. Gusty north winds are expected to continue across southern Santa Barbara County and through the Interstate 5 corridor Friday through Saturday evening, with the peak of the winds expected Friday night”

Across southern California, people are advised to reduce time in the sun, to stay indoors and to drink additional water to remain hydrated. Checking in on family members more vulnerable to these conditions would be advisable as well.

Friday and Saturday may be the hottest days with some regions expected to reach 100-112 degrees. “If computer models, which have been consistent, continue to show this event unfolding as is, Excessive Heat Watches will likely have to be issued for a good portion of the region, and Heat Advisories may be needed in most other areas,” reads the memo.

Beach Advisory

A second advisory was released for Ventura County beaches with an expectation of large swells between 8-11 feet from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning. The advisory states, “Surf building to 8 to 11 feet on south facing beaches, such as Port Hueneme, Zuma Beach, Cayucos, and areas near Long Beach. Strong rip currents are certain, and sneaker waves will be possible. The surf will begin to subside Friday afternoon and evening.”

According to the California parks website, “If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Try to remain calm.  Have someone spot the person in trouble or keep your eyes on the person.  Give a clear explanation of your location and stay on the line with the dispatcher until you are told otherwise. Throw the rip current victim something that floats and yell instructions on how to escape by having the victim swim out of the rip current, in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, direct them to swim towards shore. Only professionally trained rescuers should attempt in-water rescues.

Part of the advisory includes warning about “Sneaker Waves.” According to the National Weather Service, sneaker waves are “deadly, larger-than-average swells that can suddenly and without warning surge dozens of feet higher up the beach than expected, overtaking the unwary. They can break over rocks and lift logs on the beach with deadly force. Individuals caught in the path of these deadly waves can wind up being pulled off the beach into frigid water and swift, ocean currents.”

The description continues to describes the danger to individuals unaware of the risk.

“Sneaker waves strike people who seriously underestimated the risk they are in. They are called sneaker waves because they often appear with no warning after long periods of quiet surf and much smaller waves, lulls that can last for 10 to 20 minutes. People arriving on the beach see the smaller waves and assume they are not going to run up on the beach any higher than what they are currently observing. Based on what they see, they get too close to the water and stop paying attention. It is this calm that lulls people into a sense of security. Survivors all say the same thing: They thought they were far enough from the surf to be safe. They never saw the wave coming.”

Mistaking sneaker waves with gentle waves is common. In under 20 minutes, circumstances can change putting the beachgoer at risk.

“Sneaker waves can follow a quiet wave period (anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes) with its gentle set of lapping waves. These gentle waves can lull the uninformed into believing that the beach is safe to become preoccupied with recreational activities or even taking a nap on the beach. However, this quiet period of gentle waves can suddenly change to large waves that can run high up on the beach, with great speed and force, catching these individuals off guard.”

Victims of sneaker waves experience a slow and steady series of issues before being overtaken. Key advice is to never turn your back to the ocean.

“If they’re paying attention, a beachgoer may have a chance to outrun the wave, as some potential victims have, but usually they’re not paying attention. Many uninformed individuals aren’t expecting waves to suddenly run up to their thigh or waist instantly filling their clothes with water, sand, and gravel. This watery mixture of sand and gravel trapped in their clothes weighs them down like concrete rendering them powerless to keep from being dragged off the beach by the receding wave.”

It takes a clear head to escape dangerous ocean conditions. Understand that a rip current does not drag you underwater. Rip currents only pull you straight out to sea. Good swimmers are not in immediate danger of drowning unless they exhaust themselves by trying to fight the current. Most rip currents are less than 30 feet. Swim in the direction of the nearest breaking waves. These mark the edge of the rip current.

In the event that you are caught by a sneaker wave, I

See the following 90 second video showing an example.

Witness an example of sneaker waves dragging people down.


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