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.
--Tom Ragan, Times Community News
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.