HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) – The second of three storms hitting Southern California Friday is expected to bring high surf to the Orange County area heading into the weekend.
Heavy rain already hit the county overnight Wednesday. On Thursday, there was a brief respite before the second and thirds storms was set to hit the region and bring lots of rain. Waves could reach 15-feet by Sunday.
Huntington Beach officials have cleared a long channel to direct storm water out to the ocean. The channel is designed to keep coastal areas from flooding.
“Everything runs out to the ocean, it eventually washes out to the ocean,” said Lt. Claude Panis with the Huntington Beach Marine Safety Division. “If we don’t open these storm drains up, we actually get flooding back at our service road over there, back where our lifeguard headquarters is, and everything tends to back up.”
A 15-foot high berm was put in place months ago in Seal Beach and sand bags were stacked next to the Seal Beach Pier in preparation. The city has five free sandbag filling stations in place for homeowners throughout the weekend.
If the burm breaks, the Orange County Fire Authority has bulldozers on standby. Seal Beach will also have extra lifeguards on duty and may consider closing the pier.
“We don’t recommend people go out into the high surf, but that’s tough to do, sometimes high surf attracts surfers,” Seal Beach police Sgt. Michael Henderson said.
Seal Beach police also have an emergency services trailer at ready.
The National Weather Service was warning people who live near beaches that coastal erosion and flooding are possible. The waves are expected to be treacherous. A high surf warning is in effect for Orange County beaches through 10 p.m. Tuesday. A flash flood watch is in effect for Orange County from 7 a.m. Friday through Friday evening.
“The bad news is that each storm is progressing and getting stronger in intensity,” Panis said. “So, the cumulative effect of the rain coming down is the saturating of the ground. So you have this one storm, this third storm coming in, that’s going to hit us really hard, you’ve got the ground already wet and saturated; the potential for a lot of urban flooding and swift water rescue in the Santa Ana River.”
Once the storm starts Friday, the Huntington Beach Marine Safety Division could decide to send its officers home with swift water gear and boats because weather like this could create flooding throughout the city.