King tides create salty problems in Imperial Beach

Flood parking areas, require bulldozer work

Residents in Imperial Beach were dealing with more flooding as unusually high “king tides” hit the California coast last week.

Condominiums along Seacoast Drive were inundated with water on Friday morning, January 11.

The high tide sent water over the rebuilt beach, pooling in lower areas and forming a river between the ocean and the condos along the southern edge of Seacoast Drive.

A crew from SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) — responsible for rebuilding the beach last October as part of a $22.5 million sand-replenishment project — returned this past Friday and Saturday to dig trenches and divert the water back to the ocean.

The bulldozer operator said he had watched the waves early Friday morning as they came over the beach, the water settling in an are considerably lower than the shoreline. “I watched a guy in a canoe go all the way to the pier in it. He loved it.”

Marcos, who didn’t offer his last name, works maintenance at a nearby condo building. He was busy pumping water out of the building’s ground-level parking garage.

“This is saltwater,” he said. “Since they put new sand down, we’ve had this problem every other week. The owners are talking about cutting up the concrete and installing a sump pump, then suing the city. Saltwater’s not good for the cars.”

Imperial Beach lifeguards estimated the wave height on January 11 at seven feet. King tides occur several times a year, when Earth, the moon, and the sun align in a way that gives the seas an extra gravitational pull toward the shore.

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