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Storm floods roads, knocks over trees in O.C.

January 18, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
High winds and wet conditions hit the Orange County area hard, and there are concerns about flooding in Seal Beach.Though it was raining heavily through most of the day, there was no serious damage to homes.

In Costa Mesa, several vehicles were flooded with water up to the windshields around 17th Street and Pomona Avenue.

Officials say it was caused when the storm drains backed up.

In Corona Del Mar, workers slowly dismantled a huge tree limb by limb. The 100-year-old pine tree crushed down on a home on Heliotrop Avenue in Corona del Mar, not far from the beach. This happened at about 12:30 p.m. Monday.

"First I thought it was a big gust of wind that was just like, 'Craaaaash!' And I looked that way and my neighbor was like this (gesture) and I knew right away that it was John's tree," described Jane Hilgendorg of Corona Del Mar.

Officials say the very strong wind gusts are to blame. Fortunately, no one was home. The home had just been sold. Surprisingly, it appears that it did not have any structural damage. The two homes on either side though did suffer some minor damage.

In Seal Beach, the pier had wind gusts of up to 40 miles an hour, which caused people to hold on to their hats if they were out there. A small raft advisory is also in effect, and even experienced swimmers should stay out of the water. A high surf advisory does go into effect Tuesday morning.

Further inland in Trabuco Canyon, the Orange County Fire Authority made sure to keep a good amount of sand available at fire stations for homeowners who need sand bags to protect their property. The Santiago Canyon fire burned nearly 30,000 acres in 2007. When the rain comes down, there's big concern that mudflows could follow.

"We're supposed to worry for at least five years after the fire, and the freeway complex fire happened just a year ago, and the Santiago fire happened two years ago. So looking at the hills, there's a lot of growth, a lot of vegetation coming back so that good news, but we can't rest easy yet. We can't relax. We still need to be ready in case something happens," said Kris Concepcion of the Orange County Fire Authority.

The flash flood watch does remain in the burn areas in Orange County. In Seal Beach, officials worry that high surf and high tides may lead to more flooding.