In Seal Beach, resident Leonard Jordan knows the power of the Pacific. He saw it 30 years ago while staying in his ocean-front home.
"It pushed everything down. Swept right through the downstairs of the house," Jordan recalled. "Knocked down the front door and went up the stairs about halfway. So we all left, but that was the only time it was ever that bad."
Along the coast they are not taking chances as another storm settles in over Southern California. The sand berm that protects beach-front homes is now between 14 and 18 feet high.
"I would say there's some added security with it, but if it really gets a bad storm then it's going to come through anyway, and we're prepared for that," according to Jordan.
Throughout Seal Beach, sand bags are free for the taking. A swell generated by two storms is expected to bring high surf to the area through Saturday.
North of the pier the sand has a natural ebb and flow from the San Gabriel River. But on the south, 80,000 cubic yards were brought in to keep the erosion in check.
The measures are necessary because when it rains, city streets are prone to flooding. Officials said the roadways were designed to drain toward the ocean, but if there is too much water, emergency pumps must be brought in to push it back out.
Lifeguards hope this storm is not a trifecta.
"Big surf, a lot of rain, and high tides," said Chief Joe Bailey, Seal Beach lifeguard. "That's the recipe for disaster here in Seal Beach."