California beach town sees flooding from hurricane
Thundering surf spawned by a Pacific hurricane pounded the Southern California coast yesterday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town, knocking pilings from under the Malibu Pier and drawing daredevil surfers and body-boarders into churning waves as crowds of spectators lined the shore.
Residents of about four blocks of homes along Seal Beach, south of Los Angeles, swept seawater out of ground-floor rooms after flooding overnight.
With the next high tide looming near midday, bulldozers worked to reinforce a six-foot-tall sand berm created to protect homes and shoreline facilities, a measure normally not needed until winter.
Despite the danger, surfers and body-boarders flocked to favoured spots such as the notorious Wedge at Newport Beach and Surfrider in Malibu, where a surfer died Tuesday after being pulled from the water. It was not clear whether the death was related to the surf or a medical condition.
Extra lifeguards were on duty and there were repeated rescues.
"It's very hectic, stormy and dangerous, really," said Scott Bosco, 26, who surfed Seal Beach for an hour but only managed to catch two waves because of the roughness. "You live for days like this. I'm definitely coming back later after school."
The towering waves and rip currents were being produced by swells generated by Hurricane Marie in the Pacific Ocean about 800 miles west of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. Although Marie will likely weaken to tropical storm levels, life-threatening water conditions were expected to continue through today.