.Extreme Weather Alert Sent To Residents Ahead Of Wednesday

On Christmas Eve, Santa Cruz County residents who signed up for CruzAware, the county’s alert system, received an extreme weather alert. 

The alert cautions residents of a rainy week starting Wednesday, along with heavy winter surf conditions, and a probability of coastal flooding. 

According to county spokesperson Jason Hoppin, the areas the county encourages to prepare for flooding include the lower lying areas around East Cliff Drive and the Rio Del Mar flats. The National Weather Service for Monterey currently predicts wave heights of 30ft, which, on top of the high tides, increases the chances of those coastal areas flooding, Hoppin says. 

The timing of this alert will likely feel all too familiar to residents: the severe weather and flood warning is reminiscent of the floods that happened nearly exactly a year ago. Last year’s floods resulted in county-wide damage.  

“It’s not quite what we saw last January, but if you did flood last year, prepare for flooding again,” Hoppin says. “I would guess East Cliff will be flooded at some point in the next few days.”  

secure document shredding

Hoppin says one of the primary concerns is the heightened risk of sneaker waves paired with tourists and visitors who might not be as accustomed to surf precautions. Sneaker waves are a disproportionately large coastal wave that can often appear without warning, catching unsuspecting beachgoers off guard. 

“On Thursday, there’s a lower chance of rain, so the more serious concern is tidal run-up that is on Thursday morning, partly because visitors might not realize they’re putting themselves up for serious risk from sneaker waves,” Hoppin says. 

As for Wednesday, Hoppin says the primary concern is gusty winds that will probably take down power lines and block roads.

In preparation for the winter, Hoppin says the county has cleaned channels and streambeds to clear excess vegetations, compacted the Pajaro levee to try and improve integrity, and taken other routine winter preparedness measures around the county since Oct. 15.

To better communicate with unincorporated residents—136,000 people—about severe weather and natural disasters, the county launched CruzAware in June. There are around 9,000 people signed up to receive alerts, Hoppin says. 

“The system is more responsive to our needs and allows us to send out messages to residents more quickly,” Hoppin says. 

Helpful resources:

To find sandbags for floods, visit: 


Local road closures (unincorporated only): www.sccroadclosure.org. Local highway conditions: www.cruz511.org.

Sign up for local emergency notifications: cruzaware.org


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Aiyana Moya
News Editor
music in the park san jose
Good Times E-edition Good Times E-edition