Navigate Up
Sign In
User Login

IndividualStory

Coastal Storm History in San Diego County
Darryl Hatheway

Southern California wave climatology differs from the northern part of the state due to its more pronounced east-west shoreline orientation and protection from Point Conception and offshore islands of the California Bight (see Figure 1), which reduce exposure to severe northerly and westerly storms. However, large storm events still impact this area, with particularly strong storm magnification occurring during El Niño winters when storms increase in frequency and intensity, elevating monthly mean winter significant wave heights and water levels. Additionally, El Niño storms tend to approach from the west and south, which has a significant impact on shorelines in San Diego County that are typically protected from northwest swell due to sheltering or refraction effects on the continental shelf, offshore islands, and Point Conception.

1982-1983 El Niño Winter

Large, early winter storms greatly affected San Diego County during the 1982-83 El Niño, initiating erosion hat left the beaches narrow and vulnerable to subsequent storms in January-February 1983 (NRC 1984). El Niño storms had maximum offshore significant wave heights approaching seven meters along the California coast. In southern California, eight storms had offshore significant wave heights that exceeded three meters. Although the northern California coast experienced the strongest storms, widespread erosion and flooding also pervaded throughout southern California (NRC 1984).
Damage to the San Diego pier, beach parks, and beach access stairs generated repair costs in excess of $1.6M (NRC 1984). Extensive pier damage also occurred at the Imperial and Oceanside Piers with repair costs reaching $500,000 and $2M respectively (NRC 1984). Overtopping causing wave damage to shorefront structures occurred along several beaches, including Oceanside Beach and Mission Beach. (Griggs et al. 2005). Additional damage included erosion of the Cardiff State Beach barrier spit and localized cliff retreat in Encinitas (Griggs et al. 2005).

1997-1998 El Niño Winter

The 1997-1998 El Niño event, while believed to be more intense on the ENSO index scale, caused less damage to the shoreline than the 1982-1983 El Niño, in part due to the largest storms aligning with low periods in the tidal signal. Additionally, a much higher percentage of the shoreline had been armored following the 1982-1983 storm events, mitigating the number of exposed structures (Griggs et al. 2005). Despite this lowered risk, extensive damages were reported throughout San Diego County. Wave overtopping was reported at the Torrey Pines State recreational area, Cardiff State Beach spit, and the Mission Beach seawall (Griggs et al., 2005). Likewise, coastal development in the beach at Del Mar and Cardiff also experienced flooding and destruction of homes, restaurants, public parks, and shoreline protective structures (USGS et al. 1999).
In addition to these historical storms, there have been a number of other events causing damages along the San Diego County coastline:
Other Significant Storm Events
  • A large extra-tropical storm occurred in January 1988 causing extreme waves. Damages exceeded $68M along the San Diego shoreline (Armstrong and Flick 1989).
  • High tides combined with large waves in February 1998 destroyed several homes in the county (National Weather Service 2010).
  • During a high spring tide in December 22-23, 1999, a large wave event occurred, depositing cobblestones, sand, and other debris onto Highway 101 and in the parking lots of restaurants near San Elijo Lagoon. Waves were also breaking over the seawalls, jetties, and other structures along Point La Jolla (National Weather Service 2010).
  • Winter storms and high tides in December 2002 caused coastal flooding and major damage exceeding $500,000 to the Ocean Beach Pier (National Weather Service 2010).
  • In January of 2005, large storms resulted in coastal flooding, erosion, and structural damage (National Weather Service 2010).
  • More recent storm activity included coastal flooding during high tides and large waves in January 2014. This storm caused some coastal flood damages in Imperial Beach (see Figure 2).
Each coastal county in the California Coastal Analysis and Mapping Project – Open Pacific Coast study has a unique storm history due to factors such as storm climatology, offshore bathymetry, shoreline orientation, and degree of coastal development. Too often with the passage of time, we forget our vulnerability to coastal flood hazards and our past experiences with coastal storm damage, especially due to infrequently occurring El Niño winter storms. Reminding property owners of historical flooding will help them to refocus on mitigation efforts and promote the development of flood resilient communities.
References
Armstrong, G. and R.E. Flick. 1989. Storm damage assessment for the January 1988 Storm along the southern California coastline. Shore and Beach, 57, 20-22.
Griggs, G., K. Patsch, and L. Savoy 2005. Living with the Changing California Coast. University of California Press, 540 pp.
National Weather Service Forecasts in San Diego and Orange Counties. A History of Significant Weather Events in Southern California. February 2010. www.wrh.noaa.gov/sgx/document/weatherhistory.pdf
 
NRC 1984. California Coastal Erosion and Storm Damage During the Winter of 1982 – 1983.   National Academy Press, 74 pp.
USGS/UC Santa Cruz/NASA/NOAA Collaborative Research Group 1999. A collaborative program to investigate the impacts of the 1997-98 El Niño winter along the California Coast. Shore and Beach, 66, 24-32.
The photo below shows Southern California Bight (source: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration)
Darryl photo 1_CB 9.jpg

The photo below shows Imperial Beach (San Diego County) coastal flooding in January 2014 at Palm Avenue (source: SergeDedina.com)
 

 Coastal Beat Story Archive

 
collapse Year : 2012 ‎(7)
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=8'>Risk Map Local</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=6'>FEMA Leverages LiDAR</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=14'>FEMA’s CCAMP Studies and Our Coast, Our Future</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=18'>Region IX to Conduct First Flood Risk Review Meeting for CCAMP</a>
collapse Year : 2013 ‎(19)
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=27'>FEMA Partners with Oceanweather and Scripps Institution of Oceanography to Bring Modeling Expertise to CCAMP OPC Study</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=29'>FEMA Region IX Holds Meetings for the California Coastal Analysis and Mapping Project / Open Pacific Coast Study</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=33'>Primary Frontal Dune Coastal High Hazard Area Mapping Requirements</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=47'>FEMA Holds South Bay Workshop to Kick-off Detailed Analysis in the South Bay Counties</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=50'>Translating Coastal Flood Hazard Modeling Results into Floodplain Mapping</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=60'>Terrain Modeling in FEMA’s California Coastal Flood Studies</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=62'>Join FEMA’s Community Rating System Program Using California’s Statewide Floodplain Management Activities</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=54'>Coastal Flood Processes Along the California Coast</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=56'>FEMA’s Annual Risk Awareness Survey: Findings from Previous Surveys and the Focus for the 2013 Survey</a>
collapse Year : 2014 ‎(9)
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=64'>E386 Residential Coastal Construction</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=68'>Engaging Stakeholders to Help Communicate Impacts of BW-12</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=70'></a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=74'>California Coastal Storm History Part Two – Ventura County</a>
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=76'>Redelineation: What does it mean for me?</a>
collapse Year : 2015 ‎(2)
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=78'>FEMA increases community access to draft floodplain mapping data </a>
collapse Year : 2016 ‎(6)
<a href='http://www.r9map.org/Pages/EbulletinStory.aspx?storyID=85'></a>
1 - 40Next
 

 Other Stories

 
expand 
expand Arizona
Educating Maricopa County on the Power of Water,
Discovery Process, Thursday, February 23, 2012
expand California
Discovery Process, Thursday, March 1, 2012
NFIP Substantial Improvement and Substantial Damage Course, Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Santa Barbara County and Incorporated Areas Countywide Flood Insurance Rate Map,
FEMA RELEASES PRELIMINARY FLOOD MAPS FOR SOLANO COUNTY , Thursday, January 31, 2013
Join FEMA’s Community Rating System Program Using California’s Statewide Floodplain Management Activities,
expand Coastal Studies
Discovery Process, Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Betty the Prepared Dog, Saturday, April 28, 2012
expand Hawaii
Tsunami: Learning from Experience in Hawaii,
Public Outreach Meeting for FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map, Wednesday, August 8, 2012
expand Nevada
Clark County Flood Facts,
expand Region Wide
Be Prepared for a Flooding Event in your Community Today!,
Watershed University , Friday, June 1, 2012
Know Your Line: Be Flood Aware, Thursday, May 2, 2013
1 - 30 Next
  • The Summary of Map Actions (SOMA) Report: SOMAs Deciphered

    Many community officials and floodplain managers are called upon to review a Summary of Map Actions (SOMA) report, but how familiar are you with this document, and the process of developing it? Did you know that the ability to revise or amend effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) panels is always available? Revisions and amendments to flood hazard information may be accomplished through FEMA’s Letter of Map Change (LOMC) process, without having to re-publish the FIRM. When a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) update or restudy requires a revised FIRM panel to be re-published, the existing LOMCs that applied to the old effective FIRM panels are superseded by the newly effective FIRM panels, and LOMCs that have remained valid are revalidated. As part of a map revision, FEMA publishes a Preliminary and Final SOMA report. The SOMA records a complete list of all previously issued LOMCs, and their valid or superseded status, for each community affected by revised FIRM panels. The SOMA assists community officials in maintaining the most up-to-date information on their community’s FIRMs. (Read more…)

    More...
  • Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Insurance Studies: From Preliminary to Effective

    ​FEMA flood hazard maps inform communities about the local flood risk. Flood hazard mapping is an important part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as FEMA regulatory products provide the basis for regulating development and determining flood insurance requirements under the NFIP regulations. FEMA maintains and updates regulatory flood hazard data through Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports.

     
    Following the data acquisition and data development phases of the flood insurance study process, FEMA distributes one set of the preliminary FIRM panels, the preliminary FIS Report, and the preliminary Summary of Map Actions (SOMA) to community CEOs. FEMA also posts PDF versions of the preliminary FIRM panels and FIS Report, as well as the DFIRM database containing the GIS shapefiles, to the Map Service Center (MSC), where they are available for public download. (The preliminary FIRM panels and the preliminary DFIRM database are archived on the MSC when the panels, FIS report, and database become effective.) The steps that follow, referred to as the post-preliminary process, include the public comment and appeal period, community and public meetings, the Letter of Final Determination, and community adoption/compliance requirements. 
     
    From July 2015 through November 2015, FEMA distributed preliminary data to ten coastal counties as part of the Open Pacific Coast Study and three counties as part of the San Francisco Bay Area Coastal Study. For more information about what goes into a flood map, go to this infographic on FEMA’s website. (Read more…)

    More...
View RSS feed



Powered by BakerAECOM