The light rain that fell all day Thursday was “just the very, very top-tip of the iceberg” of a storm system expected to dump several inches of rain through Friday, says National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Garcia.
“We still have a lot to get through overnight,” Garcia says.
The city of Watsonville late Thursday issued evacuation orders for several streets west of Corralitos Creek at risk for flooding in advance of storms expected Thursday night.
The evacuated areas include Union, Lincoln and Marchant streets, north to East Lake Avenue.
Just half an inch fell on Thursday, but the already saturated ground has sent much of the water into the San Lorenzo River–which is already seeing a sharp rise–raising new flood concerns. And several more inches are expected over the next 18 hours, he says.
“We’re already seeing that churn up, just with half an inch of rain up in the mountains,” he says. “So that just speaks to how wet the soils already are, that they cannot absorb any more moisture.”
Soquel Creek was beginning to rise Thursday afternoon, and officials will monitor that, along with Corralitos Creek and the Pajaro River, which is not expected to reach flood stage.
In addition, winds are expected to knock over trees across the county, Garcia said.
Garcia’s message to the community is to heed evacuation orders if they come and to protect yourself as much as possible.
“If you haven’t taken preparations by now to get yourself to a safe location or to harden your structure, it’s probably too late at this point,” he says.
County officials issued evacuations for several areas of unincorporated Santa Cruz County. Still, Undersheriff Chris Clark says there is a “high likelihood” that those warnings could transition to orders overnight.
To see if your residence is in the evacuated area, visit community.zonehaven.com
Overnight shelters are being established at the following locations:
Watsonville Veterans Memorial Building
215 E. Beach St., Watsonville
Cabrillo College Gymnasium opens at 7pm
6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos
Ramsay Park on Main St. will serve as an information and reunification center.
Santa Cruz County will establish a daytime temporary evacuation point at the Scotts Valley Community Center at 370 Kings Village Road.
Each shelter site will provide a place to sleep, food, supplies and support services. Pets are allowed at the Cabrillo site if kept within carriers.
For those needing transportation services, Lift Line will be available to assist by calling 831-688-9663.
Emergency notifications will be made through CodeRED, an emergency phone notification system.
Register to receive information at www.scr911.org or text SCR911 to 99411.