Storm break won't last

This week's rain and wind produced the largest storm surge Newport Harbor has seen since 2005, city officials said Thursday.

Though the tide was only 6 1/2 feet high, the storm combined with it to raise the water level to 8 feet, 1 inch, said Municipal Operations Director Mark Harmon. The surge was strong enough to flood all of Corona del Mar State Beach, overwhelm sea walls on Balboa Island and create a lake along parts of Balboa Boulevard.

Damage was minimal, officials said. City crews used equipment to pump the water back into Newport Bay because they had to close storm drains, Harmon said.

The strongest part of the storm Wednesday struck farther south in Laguna Beach, where firefighters from around the county, including from Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, assisted in evacuations from mudslides.

It was dry Thursday and is supposed to be Friday, too. But the dry spell won't last long, weather experts said.

According to officials from the National Weather Service, there's a 50% chance that rain could return to Orange County Saturday. There's an even better chance for rain Sunday, with a chance of thunderstorms, NWS officials said.

Daytime weather should be into the high 50s by the weekend as a cold front moves in, with nights cooling into the 40s, the National Weather Service predicted.

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