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Floods and Flooding

A coastal town's long and stormy relationship with El Niño

A coastal town's long and stormy relationship with El Niño

In an old shingled house on Beach Boulevard, salt water sprays the living room windows above the garage. Pam Raymond looks out to see 20-foot gray waves cannonading the underside of the town's fishing pier. When a bigger one thumps a quarter-mile out, she can feel a faint rumble in her floorboards.

Whitewash hits the sea wall across her street and spews sand, rocks and bits of seaweed into her neighborhood. In her front garden, only succulents can survive these deluges of brine.

Raymond's house is not far from a Safeway and a Taco Bell, but on winter days like this, the town feels like a remote outpost against the ocean.

Waves gnashed out a section of the sea wall last...

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