/High Surf, Strong Rips as Hundreds of Thousands Pack San Diego Beaches for 4th of July

High Surf, Strong Rips as Hundreds of Thousands Pack San Diego Beaches for 4th of July

Big waves and strong rip currents could create dangerous swimming conditions at San Diego County beaches as hundreds of thousands of people take to the ocean for the Fourth of July holiday. 

The National Weather Service issued a beach hazards statement through late Thursday night due to the elevated southwest swells. 

During that time, waves are expected to average three to six feet and could cause coastal flooding, especially at Cardiff Beach and Imperial Beach, NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said.

Rip currents also have the potential to pull swimmers out to sea, the NWS warns. The agency said swimmers should obey posted warning signs and flags and talk to a lifeguard before getting in the water.

The NWS says the large swells are due to Hurricane Barbara, a Category 4 storm in the eastern Pacific moving towards the Hawaiian Islands. 

Parveen also reminded beachgoers to watch out for stingrays. The sea creature tends to gravitate towards warm, shallow water, especially during the summer. 

Last week, dozens of beachgoers were stung by stingrays at San Diego beaches, particularly at La Jolla Shores. 

Stingrays will bury themselves beneath the sand while they hunt. When a beachgoer unwittingly steps on or near one, a ray will react by using their barbed tail to puncture the threat.

Experts advise beachgoers to do the so-called “stingray shuffle” by dragging their feet through the sand to scare away stingrays and avoid getting stung.

The lifeguard group said if a beachgoer is stung by a ray’s venom-covered barb they should do the following:

  • stop the bleeding
  • seek out a lifeguard
  • soak the area in hot water (110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) to deactivate the venom
  • clean the wound to prevent infection