Amid an onslaught of winter storms that have battered Southern California, the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday declared a local state of emergency.  

The declaration comes as officials are particularly concerned about the neighborhood of Dover Shores in Newport Beach where at least one home is dangerously close to sliding into the Back Bay and endangering the stability of the entire block.  

“We have homes that are teetering on falling down into the Back Bay off of the hillside,” Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley told KTLA.  

Supervisor Foley added that the two adjacent homes on Galaxy Drive are also in danger of sliding down the hill.  

“We have one family that has senior citizens, elderly people almost 90 years old, who had to be removed from the house because it was red tagged,” Foley explained. “I mean, literally the corner of the house has air under it, no more land, and the other families on each side have little, elementary age kids. So, you know, it’s pretty devastating for the families.” 

The board of supervisors’ local state of emergency was declared, at least in part, to help these families.  

“They already have a lot of damage and they’re having trouble because insurance isn’t covering it. So, they’re having to go out of pocket to just save their homes,” Foley said.  

The hillside gave way during a heavy downpour on Mar. 3. Crews have tried several different methods of shoring the ground up.  

Cliffside collapse leaves Newport Beach homes dangling over the edge on March, 3, 2023. (KTLA)
Cliffside collapse leaves Newport Beach homes dangling over the edge on March, 3, 2023. (KTLA)

“They did do some drilling today to try to find some bedrock, so that they could secure the slope,” Foley said. “Unfortunately, they just kept hitting water.” 

So far, the land beneath the three homes continues to shift, and Foley worries that if the three homes slide down the hillside, the other 50 homes on the block are also in danger.  

“I’m also very concerned about whether or not we have any exacerbation of the area and hitting other homes if we don’t get some control of the structural stability of that slope,” she said.  

At the beginning of the month, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for more than 30 counties, including San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, but Orange County was not included in that declaration.  

Later Tuesday, however, Newsom’s office announced an expansion to the state of emergency that includes Orange County.  

“Governor Gavin Newsom today proclaimed a state of emergency to support storm response and relief efforts in the counties of Alpine, Orange and Trinity, which join 40 counties the Governor has previously proclaimed a state of emergency for since the start of severe winter storms in late February,” the news release from the governor’s office stated.  

Orange County’s declaration of a local emergency will allow officials to request state resources that can be used to repair areas damaged by winter storms.