A 1.3-mile stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, from Warner Avenue to Anderson Street in Sunset Beach, was closed for more than 2 hours Thursday as it flooded with high tides and steady rainfall.
Caltrans workers responded to the stretch at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday to clear the water that had collected on Pacific Coast Highway and shut down part of the road from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Caltrans Public Information Officer Ruben Fernandez said.
Fernandez said workers installed drain plugs to deal with high tides that reached 7.3 feet in the area Wednesday, but the tide and rain exceeded what it could hold.
"This morning with the heavy downpours plus the high tides, I hate to use the term 'perfect storm,' but it really is the worst of both worlds," said Huntington Beach City Utilities Manager Brian Ragland, who noted there was also some flooding near the Huntington Harbour along Saybrook Lane.
The portion of Pacific Coast Highway is owned and operated by Caltrans, which pumped water from the road over the sea wall, Ragland said.
"They are going to deflate and reinstall those drain plugs later today," said Fernandez, noting high tides are expected Friday morning as well.
Ragland said water was above the foundations of some homes at Pacific Coast Highway and Park Avenue in Sunset Beach, but he hadn't heard if it had gone into any of the residences. Fernandez said he'd heard of one homeowner along Pacific Coast Highway that had experienced flooding in his home.
Huntington Beach Police Lt. Chad Nichols described the flooding along Pacific Coast Highway and Warner Avenue as mild and common.
"It's nothing we don't have every time it rains here," he said. "It's a low area that gets flooded whenever it rains."
Tides hit a week high in Huntington Beach on Thursday at 7.2 feet, Ragland said. It topped out at 7.1 Wednesday, and the city was preparing for tides in the high sixes and possible sevens between 9:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Friday.
"It's an area in Huntington Beach that floods from time to time and one that we try to prepare for," Ragland said of Saybrook Lane. "We put out signs about the flooding and try to stay on top of things by making sure the drains are clear."
Runoff water from high tides in Sunset Beach along Pacific Coast Highway get particularly problematic because it drifts down to the road.
"It doesn't drain to the ocean as one might expect," Ragland said, "so that's one of the reasons the high tide and big storm makes it so tough."