NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Beach became the victim of coastal flooding on Friday, July 3 after high-tides flooded the beaches and roads with water that evening. High-surf warnings were issued that afternoon by forecasters for Orange County over the weekend and will expire on July 6.
The sand berm that blocked the water at “the Wedge” – a popular surfing location due to
the large waves – became overwhelmed by unexpected strong swells that went overtop and eroded the mound. Lifeguard officials reported that the high-energy waves were similar to a tsunami, with a continued surge that traveled further with each wave.
Floods on Friday in some circumstances were knee-deep, with those needing to traverse through Balboa Peninsula forced to wade through the water. Flooding also overtook parking lots and roads. Cars that attempted to leave the area in the overflown streets met traffic that clogged the roadways just before the holiday weekend.
A 40-foot sailboat that was out on sea washed ashore as the strong tides of the current pushed it towards land and destroyed the vessel. Debris laid across the coast after the ship was destroyed by the oncoming waves. Several people were on board, including a dog, but they were all rescued according to reports.
The City of Newport reported that their lifeguards performed 100 rescues and issued 2,700 preventive warnings in response to the surf advisory issued.
On Saturday, the city built a sand berm on the peninsula that will be larger and taller than the previous one. They note the necessity to bring in additional resources such as personal and heavy equipment. Property damage is still being assessed by city officials, according to John Pope, a city spokesperson.
Orange County beaches, including those in Newport, were closed for the holiday weekend due to coronavirus restrictions.