Dangerous swimming conditions expected through Tuesday

One Southland beach has been temporarily closed due to this weekend's dangerous swimming conditions, officials said Monday.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department said Sacred Cove in Palos Verdes would be closed until Monday night.

A large south-southwest swell generated by a storm off the New Zealand coast has sent high waves and strong rip currents toward Southern California, according to the National Weather Service.

The hazardous swimming conditions are expected to last throughout the Labor Day weekend and into Tuesday, according to Robbie Munroe of the NWS.

"The South Pacific is getting winter storms that are so large and so strong that they are developing a swell that travels all the way across the Pacific,'' Munroe said.

Particularly at south- or southwest-facing beaches, people can expect to see 4- to 6-foot waves and 6- to 7-foot sets as the southern storm "brings a lot of energy'' to the coast, L.A. County Fire Department spokeswoman Lidia Barillas said.

"(The swell) creates a lateral current that can push a person down the beach, as well as a stronger rip current,'' Barillas said.

Most rip currents -- often resembling small, brown water rapids -- last about 30 seconds to a minute, Barillas said.

Barillas said it's important to avoid panic, stay calm and focus on going with the flow or swimming parallel to the shore rather than fighting against the current.

Swimmers also are encouraged to stay in groups and keep near lifeguard stations.

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