Do You Remember When the Pacific Ocean Flooded OB’s Front Yard ? A Photo Gallery From January 2010

by on October 20, 2014 · 24 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach

Flood 1-19-10 sc03

Photos originally published on Jan. 19, 2010.

Do you remember when the Pacific Ocean became OB’s front yard? The last time it really flooded in Ocean Beach was in mid January 2010.

The rains and high winds brought the ocean right into Ocean Beach’s front yard those several days.

The typical areas of OB did flood.  And then there was the aftermath.

Check these photos out – sent to us by Pat James, Steven Kendrick, Seth Connolly, Jim Grant, Logan Marcus, and Doug Porter.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie January 19, 2010 at 11:04 am

Needless to say, guess what would have happened to the underground garage that the developer wanted to put in under his 12 condos at the corner of Saratoga and Abbott. Probably a good thing to sell the apartments and get out. Eh, Allison? Eh, LisaOB?


Sunshine January 21, 2010 at 6:34 am

if they dig the garage deep enough, it could solve all flooding issues in OB.


mr fresh January 19, 2010 at 11:22 am

the taxpayers could have been on the hook for that “bailout”…


Frank Gormlie January 19, 2010 at 11:26 am

ooohh! LOL


Pat January 19, 2010 at 11:23 am

I’m glad you got shots from the other side.
I was going to walk around over there to get some shots from that vantage point, but
it was getting dark and the water had subsided quite a bit.


Editor January 19, 2010 at 11:49 am

The photo gallery has been updated with pics from the aftermath.


Mark Rafferty January 19, 2010 at 12:27 pm

For the last two years, I lived at 1984 Abbott, which is the front left studio apartment on the corner of Abbott and Saratoga. I moved on January 1st to Coronado Avenue. I called my (ex) neighbors, and they said my old place had about 4 inches of water (as did the other front ones), whereas the one-story, one-bedroom apartments facing the beach/park (on the same property) had over a foot of water in them. They had to stay at the OB Hotel for the night, and are cleaning things up right now as we speak. I’m going to check in on them later today, because when I went there yesterday night at 6 pm, I could barely drive my Bronco through Abbott–and there was no way I was going to turn onto Saratoga, because the water there was likely two feet deep.

When I first saw the plans for the underground parking garage, I laughed so hard thinking about how it would take ten minutes to flood. If you look at the plans, however, it says they were going to install a de-flooding system so to prevent this from happening. Sure, and pigs fly!


not a redneck in east county January 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm

pigs float!


annagrace January 19, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Pat, Seth & Steven- thanks for making it REAL.


Frank Gormlie January 19, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Well, at least all the fire pits were cleaned … by nature.


Editor January 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm

More pics have been added as of 5 pm Tuesday.


Cat310 January 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Quick, if you are west of SS Cliffs, follow the Tsunami signs to safety!!!


Sunshine January 20, 2010 at 9:55 am

Is that firepit #9 I see in Pat’s pic?


maria January 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

i just wanted to say that the picture that Seth Connolly took looking down saratoga st with the r.v was a good picture. the r.v is my r.v and it took on some pretty good water damage. i ended up barely being able to move it while the police blocked traffic for me. i had to walk through waist deep water to even get to it. thank you for the picture. :-)


claudia j January 22, 2010 at 8:00 pm

To all of you::::: Great photo’s, Can you e-mail me them? Thanks, I agree Fire pits got cleaned, less work on all of who adoped them….. All of you mwho took the photo’s should pat your self on the back…Great Job….. claudia


claudia j January 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Hey, Seth, Doug, Jim G. Love your OB Storm pictures could you e=mail them to me….Thank you Pat, for sending me the pictures……All of you pat yourself on the back…..the photo’s are fantastic………Did any one get any pictures of Lake Bacon Street…. Thanks a million……..claudia J


Sandy F January 30, 2010 at 6:52 am

Years ago I lived at corner of Longbranch/Spray. Moved to Ohio — darn! Have been watching web cam of the pier at — for old time’s sake. These pics are amazing! There was a water mark on my downstairs walls about 8″ high from a previous flood. Will be many new marks after this flood. I don’t know anything about digging a parking garage, but from the comments, sounds like a really dumb idea.


claudia j February 6, 2010 at 7:25 am

Good Morning….I love the photo’s…… If possible could anyone of you e-mail me some of the pictures?? I have a few friends who no longer live in OB that would love the photo’s….I appreciate it…Thanks claudia


Frank Gormlie October 20, 2014 at 11:35 am

Editordude thought it would be neat if OBceans were reminded that yes, it does flood in OB every now and then. And look where it floods and think what is being built there now. Flooding during a drought, you laugh. Ah, but experts are expecting an El Nino this rainy season. Anyhow, just dreaming of rain ….


John October 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Historically everyone’s memories of flooding depends upon how much it affected them. As well many of these events have diverse causes. Some of the worst were due to combinations of factors like heavy rainfall, high storm surge and the city failing to do maintenance on the palm trees which allows drains to be clogged with what blows off them.
The removal of the center jetty by the Army Corps some years back was supposed to eliminate the worst case scenario of a river hitting high tides and overflowing into OB as had happened before.
We haven’t had a real El Nino since let alone a hundred year storm so…
(Somewhere online are photos from Jan. 1917 taken from the Presidio viewing mission valley and westward. THAT is scary.)


Frank Gormlie October 21, 2014 at 8:20 am

The El Nino of 1982 (I believe) was so bad that the OB Pier was damaged, its parking lot so damaged it had to be completely repaired, flooding in northwest OB very bad – I remember standing in the middle of the intersection at Abbott and Muir almost up to my waste in water.


John October 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

A girl I used to date who lived near Voltaire and WPL at the time showed me pics from that winter with people rowing small boats and paddling kayaks in front of the big 3 story condo building on the corner.
The water was at the top of the windows on the shorter cars you saw parked so this is consistent with your recollections.
There is a depression in the elevation around long branch and brighton east of abbott I imagine one could have drowned at home there.
IIRC the cause of those floods were the remnants of hurricane ewa which hit hawaii directly. I was onboard the USS Coral Sea riding that out off the coast of Oahu when our port visit was delayed.


rchalmers3 October 22, 2014 at 6:15 am

Looks like Pat’s wife Susan walking towards the ocean in his first photo.

I also remember the ’82 flooding. Until then had never really studied the small variances in OB’s topography. North OB is really susceptible, especially the intersection you mention, Frank.


OB Mercy October 23, 2014 at 11:14 am

I remember the alley behind me on Long Branch was so deep, that I saw someone surfing down it!! No lie!

The apartment bldg I was living at the time flooded the ground floor twice in 48 hours as we had two flash floods. I was grateful to be on the 2nd floor!


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