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King Tides to Reign
Jon Edelbrock | Community Services and Lifeguard Lieutenant

Erosion of North Beach, affectionately called “Dog Beach” by dog owners. Photo Jon Edelbrock, Del Mar Community Services and Lifeguard Lieutenant.

Click on photo to enlarge.


El Niño Prep

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials said each of the city’s nearly 50 fire stations has at least 100 sandbags available and that 5,000 additional sandbags are being kept in reserve.

To ensure more aggressive clearing of clogged drainage channels, the City has established two hotlines: one to report blocked drainage channels (619-235-1000), and one to report flooding (619-527-7500). In addition, city employees will be available after hours and on weekends to coordinate emergency responses.

The county of San Diego announced Tuesday that it has placed storm preparation information on its www.ReadySanDiego.org website.

Forecasters and climate experts have projected the winter of 2015/16 to be one of the most prolific “El Niño” systems in over a half-century – on par with 1982/83 and the “Grandaddy of El Niños” of 1997/98. With El Niño comes a high probability of extreme Southern California rainfall that, in the past, has caused severe coastal erosion, flooding, and loss of homes along the beach front. A significant increase in rainfall can be challenging enough for our watershed; however the greatest impacts in the beach colony loom during periods of higher-than-normal, or King Tides, and large surf.

Fall and winter bring a normal cycle of sand erosion along our coastline. Strong, short-interval, storms from the northern Pacific, bring with them increased energy and scour local beaches. The loss of sand coupled with the increased surf energy is a challenge the beach community lives with each year. Most properties have some type of protection structure including seawalls and large boulders called rip-rap. The others employ sand bags and/or increased amounts of sand around their structure.

Current climate models show large amounts of warm water around the equator. Additionally, a large “blob” of warmer-than-normal water resides in the northeast Pacific. What still needs to happen for Southern California to see an increase in rainfall (of which there is a much-agreed upon 95% probability) is for the jet stream to be drawn south by the warm equatorial waters and transport the moisture in our direction. The wet conditions are expected to hit January through March.

El Niño Emergency Declared
Reported on NBC San Diego in November

San Diego was the first city in California to declare a local state of emergency in anticipation of El Niño. State officials said the move, which will allow the city to access state and federal funding faster in case of emergency, is unusual.

As forecasters predict a strong El Nino, preparations are already underway. San Diego City lifeguards are receiving extra training for quick water rescues.

San Diego City Councilmembers made the unanimous decision Monday [November 16] after the environment committee looked at a report from Scripps Institute of Oceanography regarding El Niño conditions and also reviewed reports from the Transportation and Storm Water Department.

There is a 95 percent chance the upcoming El Niño will soak San Diego and the rest of Southern California through spring 2016, weather experts told San Diego City leaders at a preparation hearing last month.

Source: www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/San-Diego-City-Council-Declares-Local-State-of-Emergency-for-City-of-San-Diego-351118121.html#ixzz3rwfdina5

The beach community has the potential to be most vulnerable during the periods of significant high tides. King Tides will take place during Christmas week with 7’ tides between the 23rd and 25th of December. The second and fourth weeks of January also have significant tides over 6’. A “perfect storm” scenario for the Beach Colony area includes increased flow from the San Dieguito River due to significant rainfall, large and consistent surf, loss of beach sand, and periods of extreme tides.

Mutual rising of the river and ocean has been seen before. Past El Niños have produced a meeting of river and ocean waters around Camino Del Mar causing evacuations, vehicles to float away, and even stories of local surfers water skiing behind vehicles down Coast Boulevard in the early ‘80s.

City Staff and Colony residents prepare and “winterize” the beach and homes each year. Residents prepare sand bags in vulnerable areas and board up glass and windows. Public Works staff regularly inspects and clears storm drains, services overflow pumps, and works with Lifeguard staff to adequately nourish vulnerable areas on the beach with sand. Lifeguards pay close attention to maintaining beach access, follow weather patterns, notify the public of safety and water quality issues, and are available for ocean and river rescue in the event of emergency.

Stepped-up efforts have been made locally and regionally. The City has pre-filled sand bags available for any resident from Public Works during normal business hours. To better prepare for possible sea-level rise and coastal flooding in the future, City staff and stakeholders formed the Sea-level Rise Stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee.

The forecasts and various scenarios have been made. For now, staff and residents watch, prepare, and wait, to see what this winter and El Niño brings.



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