A line of thunderstorms along the Orange County coast halted cleanup of the 144,000-gallon oil spill in the water at 2:45 p.m. Monday, halting work until crews started heading out again at 9 a.m. Tuesday. 

OC Oil Spill

Latest Figures
  • Authorities now estimate a spill size range between 25,000 gallons to a maximum of 131,000 gallons
  • 5,544 gallons of oily water retrieved
  • Approximately 172,500 pounds of oily debris has been recovered from shorelines
  • 14,060 feet of boom laid to try to curb oil spread
  • More than 900 people on the ground in cleanup effort
  • General questions: 714-374-1702
  • Do not approach affected wildlife, call in a report: 877-823-6926
  • Assist with animals: 714-374-5587
  • Help with cleanups: 714-374-1702
  • File a claim: 866-985-8366

In a press release posted Monday night, Huntington Beach officials said the cleanup was halted “until further notice,” due to lightning strikes in the area, stopping cleanup efforts after 2:45 p.m. 

Huntington Beach Police Department Press Information Officer Jennifer Carrey confirmed crews did not go back in the water last night, but they were getting ready to go back in as of 8:50 a.m. Tuesday morning. 

Orange County coastal area rainfall totals ranged from 0.47 inches in Corona del Mar to 0.27 inches in Costa Mesa, per the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service confirmed 2,074 in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning strikes detected over Orange, San Diego and Riverside counties.

There is no set timeframe on when the beaches will reopen, with Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr saying she’s heard “a few weeks to a few months.” No one from the task force has commented on when beaches will reopen or how long the recovery effort will take. 

According to Martyn Willsher, CEO of Amplify Energy, divers were sent down yesterday to examine the likely spot of the leak in the pipeline after remote operating vehicles previously explored the potential leak source. There has been no statement yet on their progress. 

Officials say they’ve recovered 4,158 gallons of oil from the water and laid out over 8,700 feet of boom as of Monday afternoon. Response teams are reviewing the impact to coastlines from Huntington Beach to Dana Point Harbor. 

A still image from a cell phone video taken in Irvine shows lightning Oct. 4, 2021. Credit: Photo Courtesy of Elisa Loop

Monday afternoon the Weather Service was urging people to take cover inside to avoid the lightning storm that was moving north along the coast. The storms brought pea-sized hail, wind gusts up to 30 mph and rain throughout Orange County.

National Weather Service forecasters said the storm system is weakening and moving inland Tuesday and to expect showers and widely scattered thunderstorms, ending Tuesday afternoon.

The next potential storm system could bring rain later in the week along with cooler temperatures and gusty west to northwest winds.

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