Big waves forecast for Central Coast

A storm expected Tuesday will deliver up to an inch of rain and create waves more than 15 feet high by Wednesday, local forecaster John Lindsey said.

The storm could generate sets of waves up to 30 feet high about a tenth of a mile out to sea.Waves of this size typically cannot support themselves as they near the shoreline, said Lindsey, a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. community relations representative and expert on Central Coast weather.

Still, the waves will be big no matter where they break.

Lindsey said the waves would be some of the largest to hit the Central Coast since a June 1983 storm.

The last large swell to hit the Central Coast came on Dec. 8, with 12-foot-high waves and a 22-second period, Lindsey said.

“In the past, surfers have been washed out to sea when they’ve tried to get closer to the waves,” Lindsey said. “It’s really important that people who want to enjoy the waves practice good situational awareness.”

Central Coast Surfboards employee Chelsea Sandvik, 25, of San Luis Obispo said local surfers know a storm is coming, but only the most skilled would venture out.

“Only people that charge big waves will be able to surf waves that size,” Sandvik said.

The expected rainfall would help the region, which has been caught in a drought for several years.

Through Sunday, San Luis Obispo had received 12.73 inches of rain since July 1, when the rain year began. Normally, the city has received 8.85 inches for that period.