Ready for Round Two: Another Storm Heads Toward Monterey Bay

Jan 9, 2017

After two days of heavy rain and strong winds, another round of stormy weather is on its way to the Monterey Bay area. That could mean more rockslides, downed trees and power lines and flooding. We visited went to Santa Cruz County where homeowners are cleaning up, and getting ready for round two.

Paula McGill lives in a neighborhood just outside of Watsonville.  Her cul-de-sac sits across from Corralitos Creek, which now looks more like a fast flowing river.

“We got flooded bad, so every one of the neighbors here pulled together and we sandbagged each other’s yards. And we blocked off the entrance to Anderson Drive. The other side of the circle was open for emergency vehicles,” says McGill.

She says she spent six hours sandbagging in the rain Sunday - work that saved the inside of her house from flood waters.

“You couldn’t even see our sidewalks,” McGill says.

On Monday, water rushed down the storm drain on her cul-de-sac, making those sidewalks visible. Monday is all about cleanup: firefighters checking on residents, public works removing downed trees and clearing mudslides in the Santa Cruz Mountains, PG&E workers restoring power - all just in time for another storm.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Garcia says another significant storm arrives Monday night and will last through Wednesday morning, the heaviest rain coming Tuesday.

“Some more landslides, rockslides, flooded roads, flooded creeks and streams,” Garcia says.  

It won’t be as big as the weekend storm, but it will fall on already saturated ground.  

“So while the rain amounts don’t look like anything significant per say in and of itself, it’s probably going to be decently significant because of the conditions that have already preceded it,” Garcia says.

The Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center remains activated, ready to alert the community and coordinate crews working out in the field. Emergency Services Manager Rosemary Anderson says one area they’re keeping an eye on is the Pajaro Levee.

“The main issues that we worry about with the levees is really about debris flow and we have crews out there on 12 hour shifts making sure that the culverts are cleaned out, that the rivers are free of debris so that the flow through that area is as good as it can be,” says Anderson.

Anderson says while they’re ready to respond, residents must be ready too.

“It’s the self-preparedness and self-resilience that helps everybody,” Anderson says.

Back near Watsonville, Paula McGill gets ready to fill more sandbags before Monday night. She has a fresh pile sitting on the hood of her car.  

“That’s the hard part, it’s exhausting. But when you know you’re going to get hit with it, you start preparing and by that you make sure your cars are gassed, you’ve got plenty of food, water in your home in case you lose power. I’m prepared with briquettes and lighter fluid… that will be how I’m going to cook,” says McGill.

On top of the rain, California King Tides could also increase the risk of coastal flooding Tuesday through Thursday.