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Residents Wade Through Flooded Newport Beach Streets After Removal of Seawall at High-Tide

A Newport Beach neighborhood flooded Wednesday after a seawall was demolished at the wrong time, sending rushing water through the streets and having residents deal with the cleanup throughout the night.

Residents are dealing with the cleanup after a broken seawall sent gushing water through a Newport Beach neighborhood. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

Witnesses told NBC4 a contractor was doing demolition work at a house site in the 500 block of 36th Street when the seawall was demolished and a tide rushed in. The crew, which intended to constructed a temporary wall, accidentally knocked off the top of the existing wall as high-tide arrived.

Newport Beach fire authorities said the call came it at around 8:08 p.m. The highest of the tide reached up to six and a half feet at around 8:45 p.m.

Residents were seen wading -- and even tubing -- through the flooded streets. At least one resident reported flooding inside a home, while up to 20 others had water in their yards, fire Battalion Chief Brian McDonough said.

Stephanie Snead told the Orange County Register she and her neighbors were initially concerned, but when it was clear the damage would be limited, residents floated through the streets on rafts and paddleboards.


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"The whole neighborhood was out laughing and having a good time," Snead told the Orange County Register.

Several streets were closed to cars as city workers pumped out water.

Sandbags were used to replace the damaged wall until a permanent structure can be built, said George Murdoch, Newport Beach's director of municipal operations.

"We need to get this fixed or we'll be in the same situation tonight," he said, adding that Thursday's tide was expected to be slightly higher than the previous night's when it peaks around 9:30 p.m.

The city of 58,000 people south of Los Angeles sits at 10 feet (3 meters) above sea level and is often beset by flooding during storms or extraordinary tides.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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