California

Thousands of tiny crabs invade Southern California beaches

Delila Almaraz, 19, of Covina, picks up a tuna crab while enjoying the beach at Shaw's Cove on Friday, May 13, 2016 in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Delila Almaraz, 19, of Covina, picks up a tuna crab while enjoying the beach at Shaw's Cove on Friday, May 13, 2016 in Laguna Beach, Calif.  (Kevin Sullivan/The Orange County Register via AP)

Thousands of tiny red crabs are carpeting beaches in Orange County and creating an amazing spectacle for swimmers and surfers.

Lifeguards estimate that hundreds of thousands of the tiny crustaceans washed up Friday on beaches in Newport Beach.

Others were spotted in Laguna Beach.

The Orange County Register reports that pelagic red crabs are usually found off Baja California, but currents that are part of the El Nino weather pattern are sweeping them north.

The 1- to 3-inch-long crabs have washed up for several years along the Orange County coastline.

Before that, they hadn't been seen in the area for decades.