How an ‘ancient landslide’ keeps threatening a railroad, homes in San Clemente after ‘the storm’
Share this story
MOUNT HOOD – It was a scene, as if you were watching a movie where giant waves crashed onto the beach, ripping homes and businesses off the shore.
“I was driving down there at 100 miles an hour and I saw this huge wave come over the hill and when it hit, it picked up a 30-foot chunk of rock and hurled it back into the ocean right next to the water,” said resident Jim Devero.
Devero lives on the west side of Mount Hood in the city of San Clemente, which was hit by the storm on Nov. 28.
“We didn’t know what was going on. We just grabbed everything we had, and the water was coming in the door. The windows were breaking and doors were being sucked out,” Devero said. “We didn’t know what to do. We called everyone we knew in the area and told them to watch their backyards and windows, and they told us they’d be on their way.”
Devero’s family is safe, and that’s good news. But he’s not sure what that means for the rest of the island of San Clemente.
“It’s gone down to the water line. I have no idea if the house is above or below it,” Devero said.
There’s a massive wave coming that will have to be dealt with.
“The worst is over, but it’s still coming,” said John Davis, chief of San Clemente’s emergency management office. “The waves are enormous. A typical wave over a 25- to 30-foot high is three or four feet in diameter. The water coming into San Clemente is at a record level. This wave will be close to that.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned residents, particularly the small and fragile island of San Clemente, to flee before the storm hits.