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Seal Beach on Flood Alert as Year's Highest Tide Flows In

Seal Beach Marine Safety Chief said he doesn't think the 7.3 foot tide will be a flooding problem, but city staff are closely monitoring the situation.

With the rain and the highest tide of the year expected Thursday morning, Seal Beach residents and staffers are keeping an eye on the berm and areas prone to flooding.

In addition to an 80 percent chance of rain, Joe Bailey, city marine safety chief, said he and city lifeguards expect a 7.3 foot high tide at about 8:16 a.m. Thursday.

Bailey said he's not expecting any flooding at the city’s coast, but city staffers are monitoring the weather.

“We’re keeping a close eye on it this morning and tomorrow morning” Bailey said Wednesday. “I don’t think we’re going to have an issue at the beach."

According to city officials, a combination of three things can create a serious flooding risk in Seal Beach: a large swell, heavy rain and high tide. Bailey said the current forecast for tomorrow is missing the large swell.

Bailey added that Wednesday morning's tide was about 7.2 feet at its highest point, and tomorrow it's expected to be 7.3 feet.  Tides range up and down during the month but according to Bailey, anything over 6 feet is high.

The current high tides are what are called “” ultra-high winter water levels.

Bailey did say it’s possible the high tide might back up some storm drains in town, like the one at the corner of Ocean and Pacific Coast Highway, which flooded on Wednesday.

“We had some water on the street and that has to do with the tide being as high as it is,” Bailey said.

According to Sean Crumby, assistant city manager and director of public works, the city’s public works department will be checking in at a handful of possible trouble spots around the city including the berm, the corner of Ocean and PCH, the pump station at the end of town Thursday morning.

Crumby said he wants people to know that the city’s ready for whatever happens. According to Crumby, when it comes to potential water backups, it’s not how much rain, it’s the intensity. For example, he said, one inches over a half hour is tough on the city’s drains, but three inches over three weeks is easy to handle.  

“We have some drains where the water is plugged during high tides and in some situations can come up from the ocean," Crumby said, referring to the area near Ocean Avenue and PCH.

According to Crumby, the city has a $90 million storm drain master plan in the works to renovate a number of city drainage areas.

“We have a whole host of things we’d like to do,” Crumby said.

Additionally, forecasters say Seal Beach should get a thorough soaking over the next few days. 

Because the storm is out of the Gulf of Alaska, it'll be a chilly one with highs topping out in the 60s today, and then dropping into the mid-40s overnight in the valleys.

-- City News Service contributed to this story

Panglonymous December 13, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Wow. With all those blue-greys that white mega-boat looks pretty surreal (didn't know what it was at first.)

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