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Storms create 6-foot walls of sand in Newport Beach; lifeguards warn of danger

Strong winds and rainstorms have caused beach erosion along some stretches of Newport Beach, creating steep walls of sand as high as 6 feet.

The erosion on the Balboa Peninsula is an annual phenomenon that occurs in varying degrees. Storms create waves that hit beaches at an angle in what is known as a longshore current, or drift. The waves begin to chew away at many of the south-facing beaches. The end result is that tons of sand are picked up and redeposited on the beach — or pulled out to sea.

While the edges of the sand walls may seem inviting, they can be dangerous. That was the case a few weeks ago when a 9-year-old boy was nearly buried while digging a tunnel with a friend in the sand at 54th Street in West Newport Beach.

"What some people don't understand is that when you add water to the sand, it can get wet and heavy, and then it's hard to get off of you if you get stuck," said Newport Beach Fire Division Chief Paul Matheis.

Read the full story here.


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Photo: Massive erosion allows a metal detector enthusiast to get closer to possible lost treasures along a giant sand south of Balboa Pier. Credit: Don Leach / Times Community News.

Comments () | Archives (8)

The wall in the picture looks more like 8-10 feet, unless the metal detector guy is a little person. Don't let your kids anywhere near these, you can't dig fast enough if it collapses and buries someone.

Unless the guy in the picture is 2 1/2 feet tall, the sand wall is more than 6 feet!

So the wall of sand was deposited on top of old sand or is the lower portion simply eaten away from the old sand? This is not stated. It's as if the author does not know and, had he/she wanted to find out, all she/he had to do is ask a resident in one of the beach homes. Easy.

Is that man in the yellow jacket two and half feet tall? Because if the walls of sand are "as high as" six feet tall, he would have to be. Because that wall is at least twice as high as he is tall. Just sayin'.

Perhaps Dingler missed the second paragraph in this lengthy 4 paragraph story:

"The waves begin to chew away at many of the south-facing beaches. The end result is that tons of sand are picked up and redeposited on the beach — or pulled out to sea."

Yes Dingle, the lower portion has been "eaten away." It was nice of you to criticize the reporter without taking the time to do more than skim through four whole paragraphs.

This is part of an annual cycle that occurs on most beaches on the west coast. Small waves during the summer push sand up onto the beach. Larger waves during the winter pull it off the beach and deposit it in shallow water.

This is a more dramatic example than what we usually see in Southern California. In Northern California this happens in many places every winter.

John Dinger: per the article the sanded was eroded. This means the sand was taken away, not deposited on "old sand".

Others who commented on the apparent height of the guy in the photo verses the sand cliff height:
Lens distortion will play optical tricks in photos. Also notice the steep slope of where the guy is standing. His feet are about two feet below the base of the cliff.

Tiny tim has returned to NB. I didnt know he had a metal detector and was looking for spare change.


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