VENTURA COUNTY

Coastal Cities Brace for 14-Foot High Waves

Forecasters say a powerful storm bearing down on Central and Southern California will lash the region with rain, pounding surf and gusty winds.

The National Weather Service says the storm will roll in Thursday evening and spread south through Friday, bringing an inch or two of rain in most areas but greater amounts in the foothills and mountains.

There's a chance of thunderstorms and brief but fierce downpours that pose a risk of floods and mudslides in areas scorched by wildfires.

Beginning Thursday, there could be winds gusting to 50 mph in the valleys and on the coast and up to 70 mph in mountains.

Some beaches could get 14-foot surf on Friday. A high surf advisory was already in effect Tuesday in Ventura County.

Crews in Seal Beach, meanwhile, plowed massive heaps of sand on Wednesday that sat like a castle wall to protect the small Orange County city from the storm swell. Crews have been reinforcing this berm the past several weeks.

The sand berm in Seal Beach is the city's main defense against high waves, but between high surf and an expected 1-2 inches of rain, local police have advised residents that some water may pool on a coastal road.

Sandbags have been made available at the Seal Beach Lifeguard Headquarters, Fire Station 44, Arbor Park and at the Naval Weapons Station's Liberty Gate on Seal Beach Boulevard.

Residents are familiar with the dangers storm surges bring -- houses near the beach are sometimes flooded when storms hit, including one in late August. At that time, waves 25 feet slammed into Seal Beach.

The storm then sent water into dozens of homes along the beach, turning sidewalks into rivers and making a mess of people's garages.

Dorothy Brakebill, a Seal Beach resident, is confident this time.

"They put the sand berm up," she said. "Yesterday they distributed notices about the high waves and the possible flooding, so I think they're more set this time."

The weather should clear over the weekend but another front is headed south next week.

Hetty Chang and Annette Arreola contributed to this report.

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