Ventura declares state of emergency as strong winds, high surf continue to batter Southern California coast

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Already hard hit by recent storms, the city of Ventura declared a state of emergency this week as strong winds and high surf continue to batter the Southern California coast.

A coastal flood advisory is in effect through Thursday afternoon, but while the high surf is expected to continue it will likely not be as severe as what the region experienced in storms that whipped through the area on Dec. 28, the National Weather Service said.

Ventura city officials said their emergency declaration on Tuesday will allow the city to seek emergency funding from the state. The city’s pier was damaged by recent storms, with repair costs estimated at more than $1.75 million, while coastal properties were also damaged by flood waters.

In addition, eight people in Ventura were injured last month when they were struck by a massive rogue wave that swept over a sea wall and flooded area streets. Several people were hospitalized with minor injuries.

The council’s action will ensure the prompt restoration of the city’s infrastructure, Mayor Joe Schroeder said in a news release. The emergency declaration will remain in place for the next 60 days.

Meanwhile, Ventura and Los Angeles counties can expect 7- to 9-foot waves along the coast on Thursday, while the Central Coast could see 12- to 17-foot waves, with the threat of flooding lingering through the morning, according to the weather service. Los Angeles County is likely to see the highest tides of the season Thursday morning, according to the county fire depatment’s Lifeguard Division.

“For the low-lying coastal areas flooding can become a risk, especially with increased wave activity, which is also in the forecast for the first part of the day,” the agency wrote in a social media post.

The high surf will be accompanied by strong, cold winds with gusts of up to 35 to 45 mph across the region, and 60 to 70 mph in some mountain and valley areas. High wind advisories will be in effect for the Santa Monica Mountains, the Malibu Coast, and the Burbank area, according to the National Weather Service. The winds are expected to die down by early afternoon, according to forecasters.

Cleanup from the last storm is still ongoing for many coastal communities across Southern California. The National Weather Service said that west- and northwest-facing beaches were hit hardest during the storm that passed through in the last weeks of December.

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