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Photos: See ocean waves ravage San Francisco Bay Area coast

Two people get caught in the waves along the beach in Pacifica.
People run from waves at Mavericks Beach near Half Moon Bay on Thursday. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

Authorities called for caution along the San Francisco Bay Area's coastline and beyond Thursday in the wake of dangerous waves and surging waters that they warned could threaten lives and property.

The National Weather Service issued high surf warnings, citing forecasts for sneaker waves along harbors and popular vistas from Sonoma and Marin counties south along the peninsula's San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties through Monterey Bay.

After initially issuing a warning that predicted conditions were expected to ease around 3 p.m. Thursday, the weather service extended the caution through 3 a.m. Friday, not long before the second of two rounds of rainstorms was due to arrive across the Bay Area.

With some breaking waves expected to top 30 feet, boosted in part by seasonal tidal surges and energy accompanying this week's storm systems, residents were warned to stay away from rocks and jetties and to never turn their backs on active surf and keep children and pets away from surging shorelines.

Heavy waves crash along the coastline in Pacifica on Thursday. | Source: Courtesy KGO-TV/ABC7

In Marin County, the Stinson Beach Fire Department issued an evacuation order for several areas of the beach town, including Calles del Pinos, Pradero, Sierra, Onda Resaca, Ribera, Embarcadero and parts of Calle del Arroyo. The order was lifted later in the afternoon, and residents were allowed to return home but cautioned to avoid flooded areas, according to the county emergency site.

Along Peninsula beaches, North County Fire Authority firefighters and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter responded around 8:30 a.m. to a wet-suited surfer initially reported to be in danger who managed to return to Pacifica's Linda Mar Beach on their own.

Further south, Caltrans shared an image of crews clearing debris in northern Santa Cruz County, but added that Highway 1 remained open to drivers.

The National Weather Service warned people to stay far from the shore, sharing a video shot by a local Santa Cruz news station showing a wave crashing over two children who were watching the surf near a guardrail.

George Kelly can be reached at