New Year begins under water

Waves pound Las Flores Beach, which undermined several homes last week. The county health department advises all who want to enter the water to stay out of the ocean for 72 hours after the last rainfall. Photos by Nick Steers

Although it did not rain during the Rose Parade in Pasadena, 9.17 inches of rain have fallen in the Southern California coastline area since Dec. 26.

Along with the rain, mudslides, rock falls and a great deal of debris has washed up, or come down creeks, on local beaches, according to local safety officials.

There is a rain advisory in effect for all beaches until 12 p.m. Jan. 6, according the Los Angeles County Ocean Water Monitoring program, warning of elevated bacteria levels in ocean waters especially near storm drains, creeks and rivers. The Department of Health Services recommends avoiding contact with advisory areas until at least three days after rainfall. Depending on further rainfall, the advisory may be extended.

Lt. Randall Dickey of the Lost Hills Sheriffs Station said Malibu Canyon Road near Pacific Coast Highway was closed on Monday for four hours due to a mudslide and a big rock falling, which was removed by a skip loader.

The ongoing rainfall is causing the sand to erode along the beaches of Malibu. Lifeguard Station Capt. Nick Steers said beach accessways off Malibu Road have become unsafe due to the loss of sand. “We lose a lot of sand each year,” Steers said.

A great deal of debris has washed onshore, mostly wood, from Malibu Creek. In an effort to keep the beaches clean, all city beach maintenance crews are clearing the debris that continues to flow out of local creeks and onto the sand.

One Big Rock Beach resident sent photos showing massive amounts of seaweed that washed ashore, covering the beaches and leaving “huge amounts” underneath beachfront homes.

“In a few days it will rot and raise an uncomfortable smell and god knows what else,” the resident wrote in an e-mail.

Last week, on Big Rock Drive, residents from a home were worried because the waves hitting shore were causing the sand to erode. Steers said all they could advise residents to do was contact a contractor to stabilize the house.

Two county lifeguards along with Jefferson Wagner, operator of the pier, went out on the water last week to retrieve a 26-foot-long piling that had broken off the pier. Wagner called county lifeguards after seeing the piling break off the pier and hit other pilings. Not wanting it to cause more damage, Wagner paddled out on a kayak, tied the piling and paddled it to deeper water until the lifeguards got there to tow it out.

The National Weather Service forecasts a 20 percent chance of light rain Wednesday and Thursday, rising to 50 percent Friday and chance of rain throughout the weekend.