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Avila Beach pier reopens after closure due to high surf

A grebe sits in the sand at the Avila Pier on Tuesday afternoon. The pier was closed at noon due to a large ocean swell.
A grebe sits in the sand at the Avila Pier on Tuesday afternoon. The pier was closed at noon due to a large ocean swell.

UPDATE:

The Avila Beach pier was reopened Wednesday, a day after high swells prompted Port San Luis Harbor District officials to close it out of concern for public safety.

Harbor Manager Steve McGrath sent out an email about 7:25 p.m. Wednesday noting that the pier was again open to the public.

Weather-related concerns have temporarily closed the pier from time to time for years, McGrath said. The district maintains a chain-link gate at the base of the pier that allows the structure to be easily closed when needed.

ORIGINAL STORY:

High surf prompted Port San Luis Harbor District officials to close the Avila Beach pier to the public Tuesday.

The pier was closed shortly before noon “in the interest of public safety,” harbor manager Steve McGrath said.

The Harford Pier remains open.

“It’s just one of those gorgeous days with the winds coming out of the northeast … and these big massive plumes of white water crashing up over the breakwater,” McGrath said.

Once the swell drops in a day or two, the Avila Beach pier will be reopened, he said.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory Tuesday for Central Coast beaches, including in San Luis Obispo County. The statement said the high surf advisory is to remain in effect until 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The surf was expected to peak Tuesday with waves of 10 to 12 feet. In addition, the advisory warned of a high risk of dangerous rip currents and possibly minor coastal flooding.

Weather-related concerns have temporarily closed the Avila Beach pier from time to time for years, he added. The district maintains a chain-link gate at the base of the pier that allows the structure to be easily closed when needed.

The present-day Avila Beach pier was built in 1908 by San Luis Obispo County. It was repaired after several storms, including in 1983, when one of the strongest El Nino events in California history hammered the coastline and caused a portion of the piers in Avila Beach and Pismo Beach to collapse.

This year, strong waves lashed at the structure over the first weekend in March. The 1,685-foot-long Avila Beach pier lost five pilings, out of more than 1,200.

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