Caught on Camera: Huge Wave Slams Into SoCal Restaurant

Heavy rain from a pair of winter storm is soaking Southern California, prompting high surf and flood advisories in many areas

By Samantha Tata
|  Monday, Mar 3, 2014  |  Updated 11:33 AM CDT
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Multiple patrons at Moby Dick Restaurant in Santa Barbara captured the scary moments when a huge swell crashed into the dining, blowing out a window on Sunday, March 1, 2014.

Forrest Buchanan

Multiple patrons at Moby Dick Restaurant in Santa Barbara captured the scary moments when a huge swell crashed into the dining, blowing out a window on Sunday, March 1, 2014.

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A winter storm sitting over Southern California churned up waves so powerful they crashed through a restaurant’s dining window and sent ocean water rushing toward diners Saturday morning.

Multiple patrons at Moby Dick Restaurant in Santa Barbara (map) captured the scary moments on camera, including Forrest Buchanan.

He was having breakfast and could see the large storm surf breaking on the pier, Buchanan said in a YouTube caption.

"The swell increased with every wave that passed. I recall telling people at the table in front of me, the pier will likely be closed soon due to the high surf," Buchanan said.

A minute later, that high surf came barreling toward diners. Videos from inside the restaurant show the wave swell then crash into the dining room, blowing out a window.

"The dining room was filled with the sound of glass shattering and people screaming as a wave of water rush over the dining room carpet," Buchanan wrote.

He said everyone, patrons and staff alike, froze then quickly evacuated before any more ocean water lapped at the restaurant.

"I then looked at the manager and asked, 'Do you mine (sic) I don't pay for my breakfast and move on?'" Buchanan wrote.

Jill Freeland was also in the restaurant Saturday morning.

Freeland said she and her family are avid surfers so they were excited to see the huge swells, but did not expect them to break the glass and send ocean water rushing toward them.

"High tide and big swell can make for some salty eggs!!" she said in a caption attached to a YouTube video of the incident.

Calls to Moby Dick for comment were not immediately returned Saturday afternoon.

Remarkably, there were no reports of injuries, according to a spokesman with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.

Officials in Santa Barbara have closed the waterfront area, according to emergency manager Yolanda McGlinchey. Two boats have washed ashore and a pair of pilings was lost from Stearns Wharf as of early Saturday afternoon.

NBC4's Pablo Kay and Marla Fain contributed to this report.

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