Powerful winds hit Seal Beach

- Strong, gusty winds are hitting Seal Beach creating potentially dangerous conditions.

Officials throughout Orange County are prepared for the storms, which are expected to dump at least a few inches of rain and spur high surf along the coast.

The National Weather Service forecasted showers before 10 a.m. Friday with heavy downpours expected at times.

A breezy southeast wind of 15 to 20 mph could jump up to 25 mph by the afternoon with gusts as high as 40 mph, the weather service reported.

Possible thunderstorms may come through the county Friday night with winds gusting as high as 50 mph.

The rain will continue through Saturday before the skies clear up Sunday.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department has been using social media as well as announcements from a helicopter to broadcast warnings to the homeless who live near the Santa Ana River bed, according to Orange County sheriff's Lt. Mark Stichter.

The transients are being encouraged to move to the canyon area and elsewhere when the rain comes, he added.

Seal Beach officials are concerned ``damaging surf along with gale force winds have potential to cause minor flooding on Saturday,'' according to the police.

The weather service is warning of ``potentially damaging surf late Saturday through early Sunday.'' The highest surf could be Saturday afternoon with some sets reaching 15 feet.

Cities throughout the county are offering sandbags for residents.

The Orange County Sanitation District, asked residents to reduce water usage during the rain because, along with the stormwater, it can tax its system and ``cause potential problems in the sewer lines and at the treatment
facilities.''

EARLIER:

Sunset in Seal Beach and it’s hard to image a major storm is on the way, but if you look closely there’s evidence of what’s to come.

Neighbor Jerry Rootlieb has piled up sandbags to block his home from flooding.

“I’m hoping that it doesn’t get that bad, but three inches or more it will be higher than those sand bags,” he said.

Rootlieb is remembering what happened in January when the beachfront boardwalk in front of his home was completely under water.

“It made it to the second step,” Rootlieb said. “Then Sunday we had three inches. Now they’re predicting what four inches possible, so I’m concerned.”

Along with heavy rain, the storm that’s expected to hit Thursday night could bring swells above 10 feet by Saturday. That’s where the berm comes in as the first line of defense between the ocean and row of homes near the Seal Beach pier.

Winds could also gust up to 50 miles per hour along the coast.

“There may be a possibility of power outages so definitely be ready with a flashlight,” Chief Joe Bailey, City of Seal Beach Marine Safety, said. “Make sure your batteries are new and ready to work for you in that situation.”

The message from emergency officials: be prepared.

Many neighbors are doing that with the help of sandbags. Residents can scoop their own sand and fill up bags at any of six sand bag stations throughout the city.

The locations are as follows: Marine Safety Headquarters, The Naval Weapons Station, Fire Station 44, Fire Station 48, Arbor Park, Marina Park.

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