Storm brings heavy rain, strong winds to Orange County
The wind picked up the sand and whipped it from west to east in Huntington Beach Tuesday, demonstrating the strength of a storm that announced the coming of winter to Orange County residents.
Rocky seas with whitecap waves, flags fully unveiling themselves, overturned trash cans and a volleyball net threatening to leave its posts were some of the visuals at the Huntington Beach pier in the early afternoon.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning due to heavy rain for the surrounding area just before 1 p.m., advising people to avoid travel unless they were attempting to leave an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.
Nate Kosova, 51, of Newport Beach could not be deterred from his daily exercise routine, a trek to the Huntington Beach pier.
Stopped as he headed back in the direction of his hometown, Kosova, dressed in shorts, said he liked the cold weather. But he acknowledged the sand racing across the beach stung his skin as he walked into the wind. “It hurts,” he said.
There was also a surfer on the east side of the pier that chose to brave the high-surf conditions. It would be a short stay, as the waves refused to break in the desired fashion.
Jon Barry of Ice-America was tending to the Surf City Winter Wonderland outdoor ice rink that has been at Pier Plaza since Thanksgiving. Barry skated around the rink with a squeegee to get rid of some of the standing water, but he said that the rain was not as problematic as the wind.
“When it’s sunny, it does get a little wet, but it holds up,” Barry said. “Obviously, the rain is not our best friend, but what’s worse is the wind, because once the water’s on top and the wind’s blowing on it, it keeps an ambient temperature warmth, so it won’t freeze. It will take forever. That’s the reason I’m trying to get as much water off it as possible. After that, it should start to freeze up again fully, but you’ve just got to kind of wait out the rain and work when you can.”
On Main Street, businesses remained open, although the downtown area was understandably more quiet than normal. Cali Clothing had laid some towels down at its entrance, but the rainfall had yet to become a concern otherwise.
Jonathan Kearney, 33, of Huntington Beach, a Chicago transplant, said he knew what to expect coming into the day because he had been following the storm.
“The wind is there,” Kearney said of his former hometown. “The rain is kind of similar, too, but it’s still not as cold [or] frigid [here].”
Laguna Beach city officials provided an update on the impact of the storm in the early afternoon. The city was receiving a high volume of calls related to downed trees and power lines. Businesses were also advised to put up their floodgates to protect property.
The way out of Laguna Beach via Laguna Canyon Road was shut down at El Toro Road because of flooding just before noon, the city said in an advisory message. The closure was related to an evacuation plan for Anneliese School, which was experiencing flooding, Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia told the Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday.
Whether a car simply won’t start or there are traffic incidents, inclement weather can make for a tough day for drivers. There were a couple of tow trucks seen on Brookhurst Avenue on the way from Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley to Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach.
A flash flood warning was also issued by the National Weather Service for the Bond fire burn area. Modjeska, Silverado and Williams canyons were under mandatory evacuation orders Tuesday morning, necessitated by rainfall in the amount of 0.5 to 0.75 inches per hour, according to a City News Service report. Orange County Fire Authority personnel was called upon to make several rescues of residents from debris flows caused by the storm.
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