San Diego Cleanup in Full Swing in the Wake of Sunday's Big Storm

Times Staff Writer

Attention was focused on cleanup operations Wednesday as life returned to normal for most San Diego County residents in the wake of Sunday's storm.

Dan Eberle, director of the County Office of Disaster Preparedness, said he was preparing for the arrival of state and federal damage assessment teams whose findings will determine whether the area receives disaster aid. The county has estimated that the storm caused $7 million in damage, but Eberle believes that figure will go up after individual cities complete their damage assessment studies.

The San Diego City Office of Emergency Management was still working on its damage assessment and requested that homeowners and business owners whose property was damaged report their losses by the end of the day today so the information can be used by the city in its request for state and federal assistance.

Water on at UCSD

Water Department crews continued to make repairs on a water main, damage to which forced the closure of the UCSD campus Tuesday when a lack of pressure created a health and safety hazard. Water Department spokeswoman Yvonne Rehg said it would take two to three weeks to repair the 51-inch pipe but that water was now being delivered to UCSD through an alternate route.

"The toilets are flushing," Rehg said.

George Himel, UCSD's associate vice chancellor for business affairs, said that maintenance crews worked overtime Tuesday night to clean up the bathrooms so they would be in working order when classes resumed Wednesday morning. The university then turned its attention to its grounds and began picking up the branches and tree limbs that had been knocked down during the storm.

Grounds maintenance crews also continued work at the San Diego Zoo, focusing on the children's zoo and the amphitheater. Attendence was back to normal and the rhinoceroses were the only animals not back on view. Zoo spokesman Jeff Jouett said that it could be as long as two weeks before that enclosure was properly repaired. But, overall, the zoo was almost back to normal.

"It looks a lot better," Jouett said. "It was terrible on Monday. It looked like Godzilla had walked through." Sunny skies and calm seas drew people back to the beaches, where the surf peaked at 5 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

"We're just cleaning up and getting sand out of the streets," said lifeguard Oscar Alvarez in Imperial Beach. "The surf's real calm. It's a real nice day. There are plenty of people out beachcombing and looking around."

Looking for Treasure

In Oceanside, sun worshipers were joined on the beach by treasure seekers.

"Lots of people with those little metal detectors are out looking for fortunes," said lifeguard Matt Stephens. "Yesterday there were about 50 of them. It was pretty funny. Today there are only about 20 or 25."

Things were quieter at Solana Beach, where three out of five accesses were still closed.

"We had lots of bluff erosion and sand loss," said lifeguard supervisor Chris Miller. "There's about four surfers in the water and 20 people on the beach, but that's it." Along Mission Beach, the hardest hit part of San Diego, city crews helped residents clean up the piles of seaweed that had collected.

"There's seaweed piled up underneath the houses and in the houses," said Pat Sutton of the City Office of Emergency Management.

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