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Flood dangers in Sunset Beach

December 15, 2008 |  1:05 pm


More photos from the Southern California storm.

The combination of high tide and heavy rain left parts of low-lying Sunset Beach washed out, with at least one home in danger of flooding.

An Orange County Fire Authority crew worked to secure a yellow house at the corner of 15th Street and Pacific Avenue, pumping standing water across the road and stacking sandbags against a wall to divert flood waters. The house's foundation is below street level so it is in particular danger, said fire crew supervisor Stan Sutton. "I've seen a lot worse," said Sutton, adding that the house was the only one he knew of in immediate danger. "It's still an unpleasant thing for the homeowner. Every once in a while ... the storm systems line up with high tide and -- bingo!"

Conditions were worse closer to high tide at 10 a.m., said Matt Zaky, who owns a preschool next to the flood-endangered home.

"You couldn't even see the street," said Zaky, 34. Flooding and closures on Pacific Coast Highway prevented many of his young students from showing up today. Around lunchtime, PCH remained closed between 5th Street and Broadway, in addition to part of Pacific Avenue, with California Highway Patrol officers diverting  traffic.

Firefighters responded to flood reports after 9 a.m. at 12th Street and PCH. There, in spite of sandbagging, Spa Salon sustained water damage, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown.

Employees at the nail, hair and massage parlor were wiping up the floor with rags; they said water had been 2 inches high inside the small business, so they removed all the electrical appliances from the floor. Power in the building was out.

All four lanes of PCH were swamped this morning, McKeown said, and firefighters from around Orange County worked to secure homes and businesses along the thoroughfare with sandbags. Portable pumps sucked rainwater from the street into the nearby bay.

"The tide was very, very high today," McKeown said.

-- Susannah Rosenblatt

Photo: Homeowner Roland Dean and his dog Roxy walk through the flood waters ebbing up to his Sunset Beach home. Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times