WATSONVILLE—Santa Cruz County officials late Wednesday warned residents to be prepared for a high possibility of flooding, as the Watsonville Police Department issued evacuation warnings for the neighborhoods west of Corralitos Creek, the same areas that flooded during the series of storms that hit in January.
There is an 80-100% chance of getting more than 3 inches of rain, with some models showing more than a foot of rain falling over an 18- to 24-hour period, National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Garcia said during a meeting over Zoom hosted by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.
Heavy rains are expected to fall Thursday and Friday, with rains continuing at least through Monday.
Residents under the affected areas should be prepared to leave, should protect their property and be ready to leave should conditions change.
This includes preparing a “go” kit and making a family plan that includes pets, essential items and medications.
Garcia said the storm was above the Hawaiian islands Wednesday night, picking up tropical moisture as it bore down on California with the promises of a repeat of January’s storms.
“Be prepared for the unpredictable,” he said.
The San Lorenzo River is expected to reach 23.4 feet, which is considered a “major flood state,” Garcis says.
“Expect rises in the river all along the San Lorenzo,” he says.
On Thursday morning, Monterey County officials issued an evacuation warning for Pajaro.
Garcia also predicts possible flooding along every river in Santa Cruz County, including Corralitos, Aptos and Soquel creeks.
“Everything has the potential and is more likely to flood than not with this event,” Garcia said.
The storm will also bring high winds, meaning downed trees and “significant power outages,” he said.
“It’s really important that under this watch that you take action now to protect your life, your family’s lives, your friends’ lives and your pets’ lives, and of course harden your property, or just get out of the way,” he said.
Emergency notifications will be made through CodeRED, an emergency phone notification system. Residents must register to receive information at scr911.org or text SCR911 to 99411. Notifications are also available by downloading the Watsonville Police Department mobile app or the CodeRED app.