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Monster surf forecast prompts unusual warning for Bay Area beaches

California residents have had their fair share of extreme weather events this year, but apparently there's still more to come.

Now residents in the San Francisco Bay Area are being told to stay away from the beach on Sunday. That's when a powerful Pacific storm is likely produce the biggest waves of the year and increase the risk of rip currents.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf warning Friday along the Pacific coast from Sonoma County through Monterey County for a 24-hour period, beginning Sunday at 9 a.m.

"Dangerous, life threatening waves will impact the shoreline," the warning said. "It is advised people and pets remain off of and away from the beaches."

Beachgoers should also be aware of an increased risk of sneaker waves, "large waves that seem to come out of nowhere" and "can catch you off guard and quickly pull you into the ocean," the weather service said.

Brian Garcia, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the storm will generate large waves more than 20 feet tall but some waves could get as high as 60 feet Sunday night through Monday morning.

"This is not the day that you want to send little Johnny down to the water or little Jane to go build sand castles down at the water's edge," Garcia told CBS San Francisco.

The rough surf could cover Ocean Beach in San Francisco with water all the way to the seawall, Garcia said, so it is best to avoid the beach altogether.

"You don't want to be on the sand," he said. "You don't want to be anywhere near the spots where you can be hit by the water because if you're hit by the water, there's a lot of energy in these waves and it can easily drag people out to sea. And you have next to no chance of survival if you get dragged out to sea in this type of event."

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