Maria Tama Getty Images via Agence France-Presse Des puissantes vagues se brisant vendredi près d'une plage à Ventura, au nord de Los Angeles
Huge waves crashed on the American west coast, where residents were swept away by the waves and a hotel was flooded, with authorities warning on Friday of the risk of drowning.
Snows between seven and nine meters high are expected in several areas bordering the Pacific Ocean, in California and Oregon, due to a storm that caps a year marked by weather events extremes.
North of Los Angeles, Ventura County was hit on Thursday and reported several injuries.
Videos circulating show a giant wave crashing over a seawall in the town of Ventura, knocking over pedestrians, as other residents run for cover.
In Ventura County, northern Calif., a rogue wave was caught on video hitting the sea wall at the beach. Storms in the Pacific Ocean whipped up coastal swells that led to flooding, evacuation orders are in place for parts of northern California pic.twitter.com/4nmbStmTmB
— Daily Viral (@DailyviralUS) December 29, 2023
“As a result, eight people were hospitalized,” the Ventura Fire Department said on social media.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a hotel was flooded and windows exploded under the power of the waves.
The US Weather Service (NWS) has warned of possible “extremely hazardous conditions”, with “powerful waves and currents posing a significant risk of drowning and damage to coastal infrastructure such as than quays or piers.”
The risk of flooding will last until Saturday, according to the same source.
Meteorologists do not expect too much damage but warn that the sea can be very dangerous.
“There is an increased risk of drowning. Currents can carry swimmers and surfers out to sea,” the NWS says. “Large breaking waves can cause injuries, wash away anyone on beaches and rocks, and capsize small boats near shore.”
The storm is also accompanied by heavy rain and the Sierra Nevada massif could experience snowfall during the weekend.
These bad weather are the latest weather episode in a year marked by extreme events in the American West, victim of a ferocious heatwave in July.
This came after an abnormally rainy winter, where numerous storms, sometimes very close together, caused precipitation approaching records in certain regions, resulting in damage and flooding. Dry reservoirs filled and rivers overflowed.
Global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activities increases the scale and/or frequency of extreme weather events.