Santa Cruz, California. ( Associated Press) – Californians battled flooding and landslides Monday amid heavy rains as a series of storms pounded the state, causing mass evacuations, downed trees and debris closures Drivers facing the roads have been disappointed. ,
Tens of thousands of people were still without power, and some schools suspended their activities for the rest of the day.
On the fifth anniversary of the landslide, which killed 23 people and destroyed more than 100 homes, officials issued an evacuation order for the entire community of Montecito and a valley recently damaged by wildfires.
Santa Barbara County Police Chief Bill Brown said the decision to evacuate about 10,000 people was “based on continued high rates of rainfall and no indication that conditions will change before nightfall.” He said streams were overflowing their banks and many roads were submerged.
The National Weather Service reported 8 inches (20 cm) of rain in the past 12 hours, with more rain in the forecast before the latest storm system leaves the area. The upscale community of Montecito is nestled between the mountains and the Pacific coast, and is home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
On the coast, evacuation orders have also been issued for about 32,000 residents living near flooded rivers and streams in Santa Cruz County, Deputy County Administrator Melody Serino said. The San Lorenzo River was declared overflowing and a video posted on social media showed neighborhoods filled with dirty water reaching the height of a traffic signal.
A landslide blocked both southbound lanes of Highway 17, a major route from Santa Cruz to the San Francisco Bay Area. Vehicles were driven back to the top of the course while crews cleaned up the site.
Despite the intensity of the storm, which has killed at least a dozen people, residents of the small flooded community of Felton remained calm and optimistic.
Christine Petracuola, the 25-year-old owner of Rocky’s Cafe, gave away free coffee to customers without electricity in the house. His workers were unable to go to work due to road closures, including a bridge over the St. Lawrence River.
“A little coffee never hurt anybody,” he said.