LAGUNA BEACH (CBS) — Torrential rain and flooding left behind a real mess in the city of Laguna Beach, where damage was estimated at $4 million, according to city officials.

Laguna Beach Mayor Toni Iseman Chats With KNX 1070

Downtown merchants and city workers Thursday worked to clean up mud, water and debris from nearly 46 downtown businesses.
“We did a lot of work overnight,” Laguna Beach police Lt. Jason Kravetz said.

About 20 residences were also moderately damaged throughout the city and “that number could go up as we clean up the canyon,” Kravetz said.

marshall tharpe Laguna Beach Merchants, City Workers Mop Up After Deluge

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The storms also undermined Main Beach’s iconic boardwalk and the city will have to shore it up and replace several missing boards, Kravetz said.

“It’s not safe to walk on now,” he added.

Merchants closer to South Coast Highway were hurt the most, but with Christmas nearing, last-minute holiday shoppers were trickling in anyway.

“It’s two days before Christmas so this place should be jumping,” said James Nordstrom of Silver Images Photography, who does business out of the Latitude 33 Bookshop.

Ken’s Jewelry store on Forest Avenue also escaped damage from the flooding, James Lauher said.

“We got lucky here, compared to other stores that got hit much harder,” Lauher said.

He wasn’t so lucky at home, though, where flooding almost seeped into his car, Lauher said.

“The car got a little dirty, but it’s still intact,” he said.

The proprietor of Sirous and Son Rug Gallery on Ocean Avenue wasn’t as fortunate, as much of his inventory got soaked.

Helga Sommer of Fiori had merchandise that was much easier to clean and salvage. She was busy Thursday morning wiping down the hand-painted Italian majolica ceramics at the store on South Coast Highway across from Main Beach.

“Nothing really got damaged, just muddy,” Sommer said. “Nothing got broken, so that’s good.”

Shoppers will find it easier to get around downtown now that all of the roads, except Laguna Canyon Road, are open, Kravetz said.

Caltrans is still working to clean up Laguna Canyon, which should be reopened by tonight or early tomorrow, Kravetz said.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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