At least three people have been killed, hundreds have fled homes and dozens of rescues have been made after powerful high waves unleashed wrath along the Pacific coast of California and Latin America from Mexico to Chile. In Panama, one person was swept away by strong waves, prompting an alert from authorities. In Mexico a man drowned on Acapulco’s beach.
“It’s a washing machine,” said Christopher Scott, 48, of Fountain Valley. “It can knock the wind out of you, break people’s bones. Some people don’t realize the power of The Wedge.”
North, Central and South America Pacific coasters hit with waves over 4m high have struggled for survival as their sea-side homes were battered and their street flooded, including Mexico’s resort city Acapulco. In the Chilean city of Valparaiso a European tourist was swept away and another person was injured.
In El Salvador, a 14-year-old boy has been reported missing near Playa Metalio. Numerous people have been rescued in the Central America country. Some 400 people were evacuated as the strong waves damaged over 50 homes across the country’s coast.
Only days after a killer Australian storm hit with 50 feet waves, a New Zealand storm churned the giant waves across the Pacific at approximately 30 miles per hour. It pounded America’s west coast, including along the Southern California coastline, according to the National Weather Service. Dangerous rip currents drove waves 16-to18 feet along parts of California.
California lifeguards rescued and stabilized an injured surfer, one of many rescues up and down California’s coast on Sunday. Surfers said the current was so strong, they felt it might have smashed them into the pier’s supports had they attempted to ride the waves.
Carnival cruise ship was set to dock in Long Beach on Sunday, but had to divert to San Diego. The cruise line said that Carnival Imagination deviated to San Diego because high surf and long swells could make it unsafe to keep a ship’s gangway connected, and potentially stress the ship’s mooring lines.
A high-surf advisory warning of dangerous swimming conditions is in effect through Tuesday evening. Forecasters said the highest surf will peak Monday.
Mexican authorities said the sea swell was produced annually by large storms and winds offshore. The swell is likely to impact the Pacific coast for four more days. People have been advised advised to take
Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge said Sunday, “This will carve a new coastline in some areas.”