City Rebuilding Peninsula Sand Berm After Friday Flooding

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Rebuilding Balboa Peninsula sand berm near Balboa Pier / photo by Lawrence Sherwin

City crews had to rebuild a massive sand berm on the Balboa Peninsula after an unexpectedly strong swell over-topped and eroded the previous sand berm Friday night, flooding streets and parking lots on the Peninsula.

The new sand berm was reported to be larger and taller to prevent more flooding during Saturday’s high tide in the early evening. The City brought in additional resources, including personnel and heavy equipment, to rebuild the sand berm by Saturday afternoon, in advance of the high tide.

On Friday, an unusually high and intense swell overtopped the sand berms in an area from 8th Street to the Wedge. The primary impact was in the Balboa Pier area, and flooding extended to Balboa Boulevard.

The flooding carried a large amount of trash and debris onto City streets that may take up to a week to clean up. Officials said the priority will be addressing the sand berm to help prevent additional flooding, and cleanup will begin this week.

The City had anticipated high surf conditions July 4th weekend, with waves of five to seven feet. However, Friday’s swell brought unexpected conditions that combined with an extremely high tide to cause the flooding.

The intense surf conditions also resulted in several water rescues by lifeguards on Friday, and the crash of a 40-foot sailboat in high waves Friday evening.

City lifeguard officials said the Southern swell brought unusually high-energy wave conditions similar to those of a tsunami, with a continued surge that traveled further and further up the beach with each wave, rather than dissipating between waves and sets of waves.

All City beaches were closed to the public July 4 and July 5, in alignment with neighboring Orange County beaches.

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