SEAL BEACH, CALIF.—Hurricane Marie weakened into a tropical storm off Mexico’s Pacific coast on Wednesday, but still sent some large and dangerous waves slamming against the Southern California coast.
Officials urged everyone except for expert swimmers to stay out of the water.
Avid surfers took advantage of the extra-high waves at popular surfing spots. One surfer in his 50s died at Malibu Point on Tuesday after being pulled unconscious out of the water.
Malibu Pier was closed that afternoon after a piling was damaged. Several other beaches were also closed, including Portuguese Point, Sacred Cove, and Inspiration Point on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Seal Beach experienced flooding Tuesday night in the beach parking lot and up to three feet of flooding in the crawl spaces and basements of houses along the beach.
Around 100 personnel from the fire department, police department, and other city agencies were dispatched to the site, building a sand berm along the affected area and a channel to pump the floodwater back into the ocean.
“That area is more prone to flooding, because that beach particularly faces the south region,” said Phil Gonshak, Administrative Sergeant for the Seal Beach Police Department.
Six thousand sandbags were filled on Wednesday and stacked in doorways of homes. One thousand more were filled in the afternoon. No buildings were damaged structurally.
The high swell reached about 12 feet Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Strong waves splashed up onto the end of the pier at high tide on Wednesday, prompting officials to close half of the pier to keep the numerous onlookers safe.
The National Weather Service issued warnings of damaging high surf, very strong rip currents, and minor coastal flooding for south- and southwest-facing beaches through Friday.