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Storm Swell, High Tide Soak Imperial Beach

Waves wash over riprap along Cortez Avenue in Imperial Beach, Jan. 18, 2019.
Erik Anderson
Waves wash over riprap along Cortez Avenue in Imperial Beach, Jan. 18, 2019.

Storm surge and high tide combined to push significant amounts of seawater over parts of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach Friday.

Waves created by storms in the Pacific Ocean combined with an early morning high tide pushed ocean water over coastal riprap, large rocks used to protect the shore from the ocean, and onto Imperial Beach streets.

The rough water created some anxious moments for Imperial Beach resident Shawn Gould. He spent part of the morning rearranging sandbags that had been tossed around by the surf.


“I just pulled one over to cover my neighbor’s front door, so they don’t get blasted out,” Gould said.

Gould has come to grips with the reality of living along Imperial Beach’s Seacoast Drive.

“We live on the wilderness. This is the edge. The ocean’s going to win. And we know unless you’re living in a cave and in denial. Global warming exists and the tides are coming up,” Gould said.

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina got a taste of the high waves.

His pants were soaked when he stood a bit too close to a seawall on the southern tip of Seacoast Drive and he got caught by a strong wave.


Imperial Beach officials knew this was coming and said they were prepared.

“What we’re learning is that this is kind of the new normal and with a little bit of surf and a little bit of tide, we’re seeing a lot more coastal flooding than we used to,” Dedina said.

The impact Friday did affect some streets and condos on the coastal road at the south end of Imperial Beach.

The crashing waves were spectacular, but street flooding was minimal.

Stormy Weather And High Tides Flood Imperial Beach
Storm Swell, High Tide Soak Imperial Beach
Waves washed over a protective barrier in Imperial Beach Friday as a storm swell combined with a high tide. You can hear this story and other local news every morning by subscribing to San Diego Stories, KPBS’ daily news podcast. Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcatcher.