High surf floods Seal Beach restaurant parking lot for second time in less than year, owner says

Amy Powell Image
Sunday, December 31, 2023
High surf floods restaurant parking lot in Seal Beach
As high surf and coastal flood warnings remained in effect Saturday for a stretch of the Southern California coast, Seal Beach was one area that was hit hard.

SEAL BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- As high surf and coastal flood warnings remained in effect Saturday for a stretch of the Southern California coast, Seal Beach was one area that was hit hard.

Big waves caused serious flooding at some businesses, especially at The Beach House at Seal Beach restaurant, where the parking lot was filled with water.

At one point, the restaurant remained open until the water got too high. Crews were seen working to pump the water out of the lot.

Rosie Ritchie, the owner of the restaurant, said it's the second time in less than a year that the business has been flooded due to high tides.

"I don't know what I'm going to find when I go in there next, so I'm praying that it's not much," said Ritchie Saturday afternoon. "But if it is a lot, it's going to be hard."

In Orange County, a high surf warning and coastal flood advisory will be in effect until 2 a.m. Monday. Forecasters said Orange County beaches will see waves of 6 to 15 feet.

According to the National Weather Service, the Orange County locations most susceptible to flooding include Seal Beach, Sunset Beach and Newport Beach.

Ventura County evacuation warning

Some residents who live near the beach received an evacuation warning Saturday as a high surf warning.

The Ventura County Fire Department announced the temporary warning, which impacted homes bordering the Pacific Coast Highway, from Seacliff Avenue South to Emma Wood Group Camp, due to high surf impacting structures in the area. It was lifted just before 3 p.m.

The announcement came as authorities urged people to avoid coastal areas during the high surf warning and a storm that was passing through the region.

"Significant flooding of sea water is likely over vulnerable low-lying coastal areas around the time of high tide," said the NWS. "Damage to coastal roadways and structures is possible. Powerful waves and strong rip currents will pose an exceptional risk of ocean drowning and damage to coastal structures like piers and jetties. Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches and rocks, and capsize small boats near shore."

Forecasters warned that the county will continue to see waves of 10 to 15 feet, with some reaching as high as 20 feet, accompanied by dangerous rip currents.

L.A. County also experiences flooding

Parts of Los Angeles County experienced flooding Saturday morning. Local law enforcement agencies reported some urban and small stream flooding in the advisory area.

Some locations that were warned about possible flooding include Long Beach, Malibu, Griffith Park, Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, Universal City, Burbank, Beverly Hills, North Hollywood, Culver City, Alhambra, Inglewood, Pasadena, Van Nuys, Venice, Santa Monica and Encino.

The NWS also issued a special weather statement for the areas of Santa Clarita, Newhall and San Fernando, where winds up to 50 mph were expected.

Meanwhile, a high surf warning was in effect until 10 p.m. Saturday for all Los Angeles County beaches, including the Malibu Coast and Catalina Island.

The large waves were expected to create dangerous conditions for anyone entering the water with the possibility of flooding in areas close to the beach.

The highest surf was anticipated at west-facing beaches such as Hermosa, Manhattan and Palos Verdes, forecasters said.

Due to safety concerns relating to the high surf and ocean swell, the Manhattan Beach Pier will be closed through Sunday, city officials said.

Los Angeles County health officials issued an ocean water quality rain advisory until at least 6 a.m. Tuesday, advising people to avoid all water contact, especially near discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers due to potentially higher bacteria levels in these areas.

Long Beach issued a rain advisory and said recreational swimming areas should be avoided. City officials also urged residents and visitors to drive carefully through the area. Residents in low-lying areas such as Alamitos Bay were urged to "be vigilant and prepare for potential localized flooding due to the large swells.'' Sand and sandbags were being made available to residents at city fire stations.

NWS forecasters added: "Stay off of beaches and coastal walkways, roads, and structures. Do NOT drive around barricades or through water of unknown depth. Everyone should remain out of the water due to life-threatening surf conditions. Stay off of jetties, piers, and other water side infrastructure.''

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.