As always after a heavy rain, the waters of the Pacific near the coast are dangerously filled with elevated bacterial levels. So, as always, the County Department of Environmental Health has issued a General Advisory for coastal waters of San Diego County due to recent rainfall.
They advise people to avoid activities such as swimming, surfing and diving in all coastal waters for 72 hours following rain. And of course, this includes Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, the other beaches and San Diego Bay.
And as always, surfers in OB and at the Cliffs will avoid this avoidance and will go surfing. We know that. You know that. Just be careful.
But just so you know, elevated bacteria levels can persist after a rainstorm depending upon the storm intensity – and this storm was intense – , runoff volume, and ocean currents. Urban runoff may contain large amounts of bacteria from animal waste, soil, decomposing vegetation and other sources.
Levels can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, especially near storm drains, creeks, rivers, and lagoon outlets that discharge urban runoff. While many coastal storm drains within San Diego County are permanently posted with white metal warning signs, additional temporary warning signs are not posted for General Advisories.