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PCH reopen in Huntington Beach after high ocean tides cause flooding

Strong surf causes flooding on PCH in Huntington Beach
Strong surf causes flooding on PCH in Huntington Beach 02:16

High tides rushing over the Bolsa Chica State Beach parking lot and onto Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach caused a hard closure of a portion of the highway due to flooding on Tuesday. 

At the time of the flooding, Caltrans reported on Twitter that all lanes between Warner Avenue and Seapoint Street were closed until further notice." However, northbound lanes were reopened late Tuesday evening. 

There was a 6.1 forecast for waves between three and six feet at around 11 a.m., but witnesses and lifeguards working in the area said the waves appeared to be much larger and stronger than that. 

"It went all the way over both directions," said Angela Madison, Chief Public Affairs Officer with Caltrans, motioning that the water rushed over the street and into a water area on the other side of PCH. "That's why you see the flooding. It has receded a bit on the northbound side, but our southbound side is still flooded."

The road closure began at 10:45 a.m. 

Since the flooding began, California Department of Transportation crews have been on scene working to address problem areas, like the earth that gave way underneath part of the road, which appeared to have occurred during the flooding on Tuesday. 

"I'm shocked at how much water," said Lynette Von Varis, a Seal Beach resident. "I've never seen this flooded and we've lived here for 25 years. ... This is different cause of all the debris and all the sand, the fact that it went up and over it wasn't just flooding from the rain — it was flooding from the surf."

High surf floods PCH in Huntington Beach 04:01

A hard closure on southbound lanes remained in place until Wednesday afternoon, when the water had receded and mud and debris cleaned from the area. 

Geologists and land surveyors were called to assess the situation, looking into what may have occurred underneath the asphalt of the parking lot while the flooding was ongoing. 

Additionally, state parks officials have implemented a hard closure for the northern portion of Bolsa Chica State Beach, as they don't want any members of the public to risk their safety until the ground can be evaluated. 

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