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SoCal beaches erode after El Nino storms

April 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The erosion of beaches in Los Angeles and Orange Counties is the worst in a decade after powerful storms hit the Southern California coastline this winter.Laguna Beach has been one of the hardest hit areas.

As it's been heating up outside, many people are heading to the beach. Just don't be surprised if your favorite beach looks different than the last time you hit the sand.

"It looks completely different. There's no beach, no sand, I don't know. It just doesn't look the same," said Katia Raithley.

This year's powerful El Nino storms swept away mountains of sand leaving steep drop-offs and uncovering piles of rocks.

"This is the worst I've seen since the 1998 El Nino. It's been pretty extreme. We've lost a lot of sand up and down our beaches," said Orange County lifeguard Brad Herzog. "The most evident place during the winter time is down by Strands Beach which is just south of Salt Creek where pretty much the whole beach has been reduced to rock.

Herzog says the sand will slowly return in the summer.

"What happens is the north swells wipe away a lot of sand especially with the extreme storms we've had in February and January and the south swells bring the sand back in and fill it all back in," said Herzog. "A lot of people think we do dredging to bring the sand back in but it's pretty much a natural process. It's all brought back by the south swells."

While you may notice some renowned changes in the sand, rest assured things should get back to normal over time.


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