PACIFICA, Calif. - Forecasters are warning beachgoers not to turn their backs on the ocean, as a high-surf advisory has been issued for Bay Area beaches through Saturday morning.
Large swells of 12 to 14 feet arrived Thursday and are expected to continue through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Those
swells could result in breaking waves of 16 to 22 feet along west- and northwest-facing beaches, the weather service said.
Pacifica police shut down the Pacifica Pier for the evening Friday evening for the night. The massive breakers had an impact on business owners and Pacifica residents where waves came crashing onto the streets.
"They were coming right over the wall," said Roger Medler, a Pacifica resident. "There were a couple of people over here who got really smashed."
The waves pose a threat to beachgoers as well as mariners traversing harbor entrances, according to the weather service.
Crowds of tourists and locals watched the waves up close as they crashed into the municipal pier. The high tide brought a feast for some fisherman. One could be seen snagging in a Dungeness crab.
"The waves were rough. I was lucky to get this one. I got a good one for my wife," said Michael Pointer of Pacifica. "She sends me out; mission accomplished. I'm allowed to go back home."
The sight and sound of it all was a memorable experience for a family visiting from Indiana.
"It was weird, especially with the pier moving," said Cody Burris. "I realized with a big enough wave, you could definitely feel it shake."
At Pacifica's Chit Chat Cafe, near the pier's entrance, the water came flooding through the back door.
"It happens every year," said Anne Hardey of Chit Chat Cafe.
The water also dumped beach sand on Beach Boulevard, forcing residents to shovel sidewalks.
Three years ago the seawall broke. Just days ago, the city repaired a sinkhole that opened up at the entrance to the pier.
Down the shore at Moonraker restaurant, the hotel put up big boards on the windows. In 2017, massive waves broke through the bottom floor banquet room windows. The waves hit again last year, flooding the room.
"We do have storm shutters that are supposed to be coming, but you know, just before they get here, we're boarding up the windows to be safe," said Tatiana Shands-Ballas, the restaurant manager.
Residents say the biggest waves usually come in the morning and if the surf is too dangerous, then the pier is closed to pedestrians.
Bay City News contributed to this report.