(FOX 11) -
Rescuers' handheld radios tell the story of the sense of urgency in Santa Barbara County at El Capitan Canyon.
One voice can be heard saying, "If we need to get them out we need to get them out within a half an hour.” Another responds... "Rescue 11 Copy!"
That urgency was because rescue workers were looking for anyone trapped by flood waters at the cabins at El Capitan Canyon.
The situation was monitored at the State Park Lifeguard station in Ventura where all eyes were on a potentially growing second problem — a large west swell that could kick waves up as high as 20 feet … putting the Ventura Pier in its crosshairs.
State Park Lifeguard Josh Pace said, “It could possibly scrape the bottom of the pier..." adding that the power of the swell could make it "very dangerous to go out in the ocean. It’s going to generate significant currents…” and, potentially create a situation that like in December of 2015 a west swell tore apart some of the Ventura pier.
Scary as that sounds to Chaz Etheridge who works at Beach House Fish on the pier big swells can help bring in big business. Seems people like seeing Mother Nature take aim at the ocean…
Says Etheridge, “People like to see the big surf, check it out… maybe see a daring person out there surfing.”
Lifeguards say that surfing idea is a bad one. The water’s brown because of runoff. That means a fair amount of bacteria in there and, with that swell, rip currents could be a big problem.
The pier has been closed by the city of Ventura for the weekend because of the danger. The pier actually moves. Says Etheridge, “Anything hittin' the pier, if there’s any movement, we’re going to feel it too.”
And, for some in the restaurant, watching dynamic surf thru the windows can be like watching a movie on a screen. Some say that’s a reason to be inside the pier restaurant when swells like the forecast one come through.
Although, restaurant customer Kim Smith told us, “I probably don’t want to be anywhere around it when it happens so, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here eating lunch.”
But, Anne Autio would though she and her friend Nicole Higgins said watching from a distance might not be so bad.
Looking out the window Higgins told us, “Right here, it’s kind of you’re far enough out so if there was damage it would mostly damage that (end part of the pier), but if it was somewhere where it could damage people’s homes or their livelihood I wouldn’t want to watch that.”
Like what happened up the coast in at El Capitan Canyon in Santa Barbara County.
Says her friend Autio, “I think Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with and that you have to respect it.”