LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Waves as high as 10 feet from a tropical storm in the Pacific Ocean pounded Southern California beaches on Monday, posing a hazard to inexperienced surfers and threatening to cause minor flooding, a meteorologist said.
The waves originate from Tropical Storm Simon, which was downgraded overnight from hurricane status and is about 300 miles west of Mexico's Baja California, said National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Smith.
The latest onset of large waves, combined with dangerous rip currents, is expected to last until Tuesday and taper off on Wednesday, Smith said.
Authorities have warned swimmers to stay near lifeguard towers and told inexperienced surfers to think twice about joining the crowds of enthusiasts who flock to beaches when heavy swells are forecast.
"The people that buy their surfboard at Costco, maybe not today," Smith said.
The Weather Service is warning that south-facing beaches in Los Angeles and Ventura counties are seeing waves of 6 feet to 8 feet, and parts of coastal Orange and San Diego counties could expect waves of 4 feet to 6 feet with the occasional swell as high as 10 feet.
While meteorologists say some minor coastal flooding could result from the high surf, the event is expected to be far less significant than the effects of Hurricane Marie, which in August sent waves of over 20 feet toward Southern California, causing millions of dollars in damage at picturesque Catalina Island.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Eric Walsh)