Beach flooding, erosion worries as big waves and high tide add to hurricane storm worries – Daily Breeze

Sand berms are being built, sandbags filled and pumps ready to suck up seawater – but will that be enough to protect against the force of nature?

With high winds and heavy rain as the remnants of Hurricane Kay roar through Southern California and produce large waves, high tides in the late morning and even higher in the evening will create a combination that could cause problems to the vulnerable Southern California coastline.

Large swells from the hurricane could create waves up to 8 feet high by Saturday, a bump in ocean strength that will merge with high tides and could send seawater rushing over waves. stretches of beach, munching away sand to shrink even more already eroded coastlines, and even overrun streets and homes.

  • Waves crash onto rocks in front of homes at Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. The remnants of Hurricane Kay combined with the morning high tide brought the danger of further erosion into the region. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

  • County workers attempted to clear a clogged storm sewer...

    County workers attempted to clean out a clogged storm sewer at Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Workers were preparing for possible weekend storms and securing an area that had suffered severe erosion over the past few weeks. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

  • ‘Scout’ chases a ball thrown by Melissa Cardoza at Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, Calif. on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. The remnants of Hurricane Kay combined with morning high tide have brought the danger of further erosion to the area . (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

  • Nasrin Hamidi is caught in a wave that crashes on the...

    Nasrin Hamidi is caught in a wave crashing over the rocks at Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. The remnants of Hurricane Kay combined with the morning high tide brought the danger of a further erosion in the area. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

  • A surfer walks along giant sandbags on Capistrano Beach in...

    A surfer walks along giant sandbags at Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. The remnants of Hurricane Kay combined with morning high tide brought the danger of further erosion into the region. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

  • A cyclist watches the waves crash on the rocks at...

    A cyclist watches the waves crash onto the rocks at Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. The remnants of Hurricane Kay combined with the morning high tide have brought the danger of erosion extra in the area. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

  • A man takes photos as the waves crash against the rocks...

    A man takes photos as waves crash over rocks at Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. The remnants of Hurricane Kay combined with morning high tide brought the danger of further erosion in the area. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

National Weather Service meteorologist Liz Schenk said a beach danger statement had been issued through Sunday afternoon, with waves ranging from 3 to 6 feet high, with sets over 8 feet.

High tides are forecast to be at 6.5 feet just after 9 p.m. Friday evening. And with any rain, there could be pockets of flooding, especially in low-lying areas, Schenk said. The late morning hours will also see high tides, slightly lower than 5.4ft on Saturday at 10am, but still potentially dangerous when combined with large swells.

High water levels spilled over the sands of Seal Beach on Thursday, prompting fire department crews to build a berm, Seal Beach Marine Safety Chief Joe Bailey said.

Videos online showed the ocean laying across the sand and reaching the boardwalk, also approaching a beach cafe under construction near the San Gabriel River.

“We’re next to a river, there’s an ocean in front of us, but now we have a lake,” The Beach House co-owner Brian Kyle said of the extremely high tides that encroached on their yard. of construction and came within a few feet of very heavy and expensive equipment that has yet to be moved inside.

Nearby Long Beach, lifeguards were busy throughout the afternoon filling sandbags for residents and berms were being constructed to protect buildings and infrastructure.

Propel Bike Shop employee Alexis Saldaña took the initiative to fill sandbags as a precaution. Saldaña said she feared the area could experience a year of California rain in one night.

“The store has flooded in the past and since the owner lives out of state, we thought it was a good idea to be prepared for the upcoming rain,” she said.

Jon Cockrill, who has lived on the beach for 30 years at Seal Beach, has seen his share of large swells that flooded the beach and boardwalk. As a surfer, he could tell the hurricane swell was building and said he started calling city hall and the police department on Thursday morning to warn them they should start building the berm sooner. .

He remembers what happened in 2014 when Hurricane Marie hit, catching the town off guard and flooding the beach before berms could be formed to protect homes. So when Cockrill saw the sea water approaching the sand in the evening, even hours before high tide, he decided to call the authorities.

“I was begging them to get a tractor over there,” he said, noting that Long Beach had already started planning for a berm a day earlier.

While Seal Beach typically receives big waves from the northwest winter swell, hurricane surf can be more unpredictable and from a different angle, sending bigger waves during the typical small surf season.

Water rose over the sand at Seal Beach on Thursday, September 8, 2022 when a high and larger than expected tide hit the area.  (Photo by Jeff Collins/SCNG)
Water rose over the sand at Seal Beach on Thursday, September 8, 2022 when a high and larger than expected tide hit the area. (Photo by Jeff Collins/SCNG)

Bailey said the waves were bigger than expected on Thursday night, and were expected to be between 4 and 7 feet. It’s unclear, he said, if that heavy surf arrived a day and a half early or if the swell will continue to build.

“Our concern is that the waves will continue to build tonight,” Bailey said Friday morning. “The forecast is for the heaviest surf on Saturday.”

“If it’s going to keep building, we’re going to need that berm,” Bailey said. “If he came early, it should be fine. It’s just a waiting game at this point.

The city also sent an alert to residents that sandbags are available in the 8th Place parking lot and in the city yard for people who want to fill them to protect their homes. Pumps have been put in place to suck up water if it rushes onto the boardwalk or near houses, he said.

Crews will be on hand when the high tide is expected to hit – on Friday evening it is expected to be 6.5ft around 9pm – to keep an eye out for potential flooding.

Los Angeles County Fire Department lifeguard Capt. AJ Lester said the swell direction was from the southeast and the waves were expected to be smaller in the South Bay area, closer to the beach. 4 to 6 feet, although areas such as Venice and Zuma could see great surf.

“For us, it’s a standard beach day,” he said. “There will be high waves and increased risk of rip currents. We will encourage people to check in with lifeguards before going to the beach. For us, it’s like a normal swell.

What is not normal is the risk of thunderstorms. A few years ago, a bather in Venice was killed during a summer thunderstorm.

“If we see lightning or hear thunder anywhere around LA County beaches, we will clear LA County beaches,” he said, noting that they are in constant contact with the National Weather Service. “We will potentially clean up the beach as it goes up the coast.”

Additionally, the rain can blow up storm drains that could send runoff onto the beach — usually a problem in the winter when beach crowds are less. But with 90-degree weather, those heading to the beach in the coming days should be aware of potential water quality issues, he said.

In Newport Beach, particularly on the Balboa Peninsula where flooding occurred last July, crews have been busy this week constructing sand berms in anticipation of the storm, the city spokesperson said, John Pope.

“Crews will be there to monitor and pump if necessary,” he said.

At Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, officials have already been working to tackle severe erosion – winter storms in 2018 decimated the beach, and large southern swells in recent weeks have already eaten further away at the small remaining stretch of coastline between Doheny State Beach and San Clemente.

Workers were on site Friday trying to clear a clogged storm sewer spitting onto the beach ahead of the storm so it wouldn’t overflow.

Toni Nelson, creator of the community group Capo Cares which has worked with the county on projects to repair the area, was worried about their scenic beach which has taken a beating in recent years. The county did what it could to fix, she said, but every time a big swell comes in, they have to start all over again.

“It’s going to be bad. I fear serious property damage,” she said, watching the sea crash against the seawall. “They keep putting all these sandbags in and it doesn’t work.”

County officials closed portions of the Capo Beach and Aliso Beach parking lot in South Laguna Beach, which has also had issues in recent years with rushing ocean during major surf and high tide events, a said OC Parks spokeswoman Marisa O’Neil. . Some stretches of beach and land may need to remain closed over the weekend.

Significant rainfall could close trails in nature and state parks in the county, she added.

Brittany Murray and Roxana Kopetman contributed to this report

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