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Pacifica officials monitor crumbling cliff as high surf pounds Bay Area coast

With forecasts calling for surf that could reach 19 feet, a crumbling cliffside in Pacific will be shored up with a fence Monday as crews get ready to demolish coastal apartments teetering on the brink.

Pacifica officials are closely monitoring the El Niño storms, which they say have accelerated coastal erosion of the city’s seaside bluffs. A high surf advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Tuesday for Sonoma County to Monterey County beaches. The National Weather Service warned that coastal erosion from the powerful surf could endanger beach visitors.

Depending on the weather conditions, crews on Tuesday plan to start knocking down a vacant 20-unit apartment building on the 300 block of Esplanade Avenue. The building has been closed since 2010 when city officials were forced to declare it unsafe for residents.

Live updates: Isolated thunderstorms possible through the evening

“The vacant building at 320 Esplanade poses a significant risk to public health and safety and the City is taking immediate action to tear it down,” City Manager Lorie Tinfow said in a statement. “Deteriorating conditions on the adjacent bluffs present a clear danger to residents, and demolishing this structure is the only way to prevent it from crumbling to the beach below.”

Tinfow declared a local emergency on Jan. 22 after portions of the eroding cliff collapsed into the ocean following rains that battered the coastal Bay Area city, about 15 miles south of San Francisco.

The same storms forced city officials to ask residents in another apartment building at 310 Esplanade to leave their home due to unsafe conditions there. City officials have been working with residents to find other housing.

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