US & Canada

Hurricane creates rare extreme waves in California

A swimmer catches a wave at "The Wedge" wave break in Newport Beach, California 27 August 2014

Waves as high as 20ft (6m) in southern California have damaged waterfront homes, knocked out pier pilings and attracted scores of surfers.

The waves are the result of swells produced by Hurricane Marie in the Pacific, 800 miles (1,300km) west of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.

Dangerous wave conditions are expected to continue through Thursday despite a weakened storm.

One person has died while surfing on a beach in Malibu.

But it is unclear if the death was caused by the surf or a medical condition.

Despite the danger, thousands of spectators lined the Wedge, a popular surf spot in Newport Beach, to watch surfboarders take on the waves, town officials said.

The swells are the largest seen in southern California since a pair of hurricanes hit the Pacific within weeks of each other in 1997, National Weather Service weather specialist Stuart Ceto said.

A bogieboarder rides a wave at the wedge in Newport Beach, California 27 August 2014
A lifeguard watches swimmers at "The Wedge" wave break in Newport Beach, California August 27, 2014.
Extra lifeguards were posted along The Wedge in Newport Beach
a bike rider makes his way through a flooded street after high tide and large waves caused heavy flooding in Seal Beach, California 26 August 2014
Some low-lying streets in the town of Seal Beach were flooded from the waves
A general view of the Malibu ocean and beach atmosphere during huge swells generated by hurricane Marie Reach on August 27, 2014 in Malibu, California
The pier in Malibu has been closed amid broken pilings