Labor Day

Catalina Residents Clean Up After the Storm

The island community was hard hit by the strong waves and storm surges drummed up by Tropical Storm Marie this week.

Locals spent Thursday cleaning up the resort community on Catalina Island, where storm surges from the hurricane that was pushing its way up the Baja California coast caused some extensive damage to area businesses.

The sound of crashing waves isn’t unusual for the rocky island, but now-Tropical Storm Marie churned up surges so powerful Tuesday and Wednesday that some residents are amazed no one was injured.

Pebbly Beach on the southeast side of the island was hit hardest, where waves sent a 25-foot boat barreling into a business.

Catalina Laundry was the only laundry service on the island, but is now all but destroyed. Next door to the laundry, a boatyard is.also a complete loss.

But owners of both businesses vowed to re-build.

“It's a big mess. Everyone is working hard, but we'll get it done pretty soon,” Cesar Castro said.

In Avalon, employees of Descanso Beach Club also spent Thursday cleaning up debris on its beachfront. It was spared from major damage.

While water activities around the island were canceled for Thursday, tourism officials said the island will be back to normal by Friday morning and ready to welcome Labor Day weekend visitors.

“We knew Hurricane Maria was coming, and we did a lot to prepare - as much as we could, but obviously Mother Nature took its course,” said Julie Sevilla of the Santa Catalina Island Company.

“We expect everything to be as normal beginning (Friday),” Sevilla said. “We will be happy to welcome all of our guests to our hotels, restaurants, activities are expected to run as normal.”

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