Life Returning to Normal as Officials Assess Storm Damage

Times Staff Writer

Life returned to normal along the battered coast of Orange County on Wednesday as officials assessed the effect of the storm that claimed eight lives and caused an estimated $72 million in damage in communities from Santa Barbara to Ensenada.

Orange County officials raised their estimate of countywide storm damage to between $6 million and $10 million, up from the $5-million figure released Tuesday. But several cities along the coast, including hard-hit Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach, lowered their damage estimates by several hundred thousand dollars.

Huntington Beach's public works director, Les Evans, said the city had spent about $50,000 in storm-related work, down from a feared total of $250,000. In Laguna Beach, Deputy Fire Chief Rich Dewberry said damage to private property totaled approximately $966,000, down from the $1.5-million figure released earlier.

Despite the lowered damage estimates from those communities, the Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to ask the state and federal governments to declare Orange County a disaster area, thereby qualifying storm victims for public assistance. The supervisors' action followed a Tuesday vote proclaiming a state of emergency throughout the county.

Many county beaches were denuded of sand by the storm, but officials said normal currents would return most displaced sand to the beaches by summer.


Orange County officials revised earlier estimates of $5 million in storm damage countywide to a figure between $6 million and $10 million. Here is a preliminary breakdown by area.

SEAL BEACH: About $30,000 in damage to public property; city pier, $17,000 in structural damage; beachside parking lots and retaining walls, $12,000 in damage. Minor damage to private property.

HUNTINGTON BEACH: Damage to the pier and beach, $4 million. The pier lost its furthest 250 feet, including a restaurant on the pier's end. Officials said $50,000 was spent in preparation for and cleanup after the storm. Pacific Coast Highway was opened to traffic Wednesday; a stretch of the road between Golden West Street and Warner Avenue had been closed. No reported damage to private property.

NEWPORT BEACH: Although little happened to the city's piers, officials said about 100 tons of debris washed up on Newport's shores. Officials said that damage to public property would probably total below $10,000.

LAGUNA BEACH: About $230,000 in damages to public property, most of that to city's boardwalk, was reported. In South Laguna, one house was destroyed and eight others were harmed, as was a condominium complex, totaling about $966,000 in damage to private property.

SAN CLEMENTE: About $100,000 damage to public property, including the municipal pier and lifeguard headquarters. Minimal damage to private property.

UNINCORPORATED AREAS: Damage of $148,000 in unincorporated coastal areas. Sunset Beach had flooded streets; little damage to private or public property. About $100,000 damage to Aliso Beach and pier. Three homes in Capistrano Beach suffered water damage and broken windows, but no specific damage estimates were available.

COUNTYWIDE: Orange County officials said they spent about $41,000 in response to the storm, mainly in overtime pay for emergency workers.

Compiled by Times staff writer Jess Bravin from city and county officials.

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