Residents Brace for Hurricane Norbert

Hurricane Norbert is expected to whip up big waves in Southern California this weekend

Southern California beach communities continued to brace for high surf caused by Hurricane Norbert.

Long Beach resident Andrea Lynn says she and her neighbors are prepared with sandbags strategically placed in low lying locations. Lynn says the city has done a good job getting the word out to homeowners in areas that border water in the Alamitos Bay, and crews have been working around the clock to build up this sand berm stretching 1.7 miles along the peninsula.

The Long Beach Fire Department said the waves Saturday were lower than anticipated, but the potential high tide was still a concern.

A weakening Hurricane Norbert moved parallel to Mexico's Baja California peninsula early Sunday after pounding fishing villages and resorts, damaging more than a 1,000 homes and forcing hundreds to fleet to higher ground.

Norbert grew to Category 3 status earlier in the day but by late Saturday night it had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds of up to 85 mph. Though staying away from land, it passed near enough to the coast to have drenched Mexican fishing villages and resorts, and pound beaches.

For a place not known for big swells and monster waves, Long Beach was certainly getting some attention.

"I don't think I've ever heard back-to-back hurricanes within like five days," said James Welty, a resident.

The powerful surges of Hurricane Marie last week were enough to knock down parts of the breakwater.

The large berm left over from then was being reinforced Friday night on the Long Beach peninsula.

"They packed this in pretty thick," Welty said. "Nice and tight!"

This storm surge, less powerful than Marie but with the potential for flooding, was growing with the higher tide.

"You look out in the water and you don't see those wakes come up," Welty said. "It's how high it is, is the scary part."

Welty has a stack of sandbags.

"Yeah, it's crazy," he said. "Just in case, we're prepared."

Sandbags worked in protecting the homes, stll in place for round two this weekend.

"High tide and low-lying areas don't mix, especially with an increased surge from the eastern Pacific," said Jake Helfin, a Long Beach Fire Department spokesman. "So, in that perspective, that's why we are taking all these actions minimize the impact in the future."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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