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Big surf pounds Catalina, causes major damage to boatyard, harbor

Big waves from Hurricane Marie cause major damage at Santa Catalina Island

Surging surf caused by Hurricane Marie battered Santa Catalina Island, leaving a wake of destruction at a boatyard and creating hazardous conditions at Avalon Harbor, officials said Wednesday evening.

On Wednesday night, a structure on Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu slid down a hill and partially entered the water as surf crashed on the shoreline, according to television news footage. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was inside the structure.

Earlier on Catalina, waves tore through the boatyard at Pebbly Beach on the east end of the island, upending boats and scattering lumber across the area. 

Some of the wood apparently floated into Avalon Harbor, where it smashed into moorings and pilings, according to Los Angeles County harbor officials.

"We've got large pieces of lumber floating around pilings," said Orne Carstarphen of the Avalon Harbor Patrol. "There's a lot of hazards and number of moorings that have been damaged."

He said crews spent the day pulling debris from the water and moving boats from damaged moorings. "At this time," Carstarphen said Wednesday evening, "no more moorings are available."

The last time Pebbly Beach received major damage was in September 1997, according to the Los Angeles County lifeguard division.

County Supervisor Don Knabe, whose district includes Catalina, posted photos on Twitter that showed boats and a small bus upended by the surging waters. Another photo showed that the pier at White's Landing had been partially destroyed by big waves.

Knabe's office said Wednesday evening that county officials were still assessing the damage and had not determined the level of assistance that would be needed for cleanup operations.

Earlier Wednesday at the Port of Long Beach, officials said waves up to 15 feet forced crews to halt operations at two terminals as the big surf combined with high morning tides.

The Malibu Pier continued to be closed Wednesday after huge waves damaged pilings. One surfer who lost his board was rescued Wednesday afternoon by lifeguards from beneath the pier as he clung to a piling, officials said.

L.A. County lifeguards were still compiling rescue statistics Wednesday evening but guards made 115 rescues Tuesday, officials said.

With the big swell expected to continue into Thursday, officials at Heal the Bay published ocean safety tips on their website for people venturing into the water during the raging surf.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

10:40 p.m. PDT: This post has been updated to report that part of a structure slid into the water on Pacific Coast Highway.

This post was initially published at 7:04 p.m.

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