Disaster! County Seeks State Aid

Weekend storm damage nears $20 million, officials say.

Local leaders will seek state aid for the weekend storms that wreaked havoc on the county and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage, the county Board of Supervisors decided during an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening.

Three storms pummeled the county last week. More than 4 inches fell on Saturday alone, Capitola flooded twice in three days and about 40 roads were closed at one point on Saturday.

The massive rainfall broke a storm drain on Noble Gulch Creek in Capitola, sending muddy water through Pacific Cove Mobile Home Park and drowning shops in the village.

“We came to beg that you declare our community a disaster," Capitola Mayor Dennis Norton told county supervisors Tuesday. He said the broken storm drain turned Capitola “into another Venice.”

Preliminary damage estimates are pegged at $10 million.

Fourteen county roads remained closed or operating with only one lane on Tuesday evening and damage to the local road system is estimated at $7-$10 million, according to county Public Works Director John Presleigh.

"This is beyond an average winter storm," he said before the meeting.

The closures include difficult fixes.

  • Three slip-outs on the outskirts of Santa Cruz—on Branciforte Drive and the recently repaved Glen Canyon Road—that now are blocked off with K-rail barricades and reduced to one lane of traffic.
  • On Larkin Valley Road at Buena Vista Drive, a culvert failed and the road collapsed.

Presleigh said there's a lot of damage out there.

"Our road crews have been out since last week. We’ve had them on call, on and off," he told county supervisors, adding that three contractors are also out doing cleanup work, mostly debris removal or winterizing roads that lost half a lane.

“We’re asking that the public be patient with us as we move through this stage," Presleigh said.

In Scotts Valley, the rain only compounded problems for Nelson Road residents trapped in their rural homes by a major landslide on March 21.

Fifth District Supervisor Mark Stone, whose constituents include the Nelson Road residents, said 26 houses are still cut off up there, but those affected are very self-sufficient.

"It’s a community that’s come together," he said.

The county issued a state of local emergency proclamation during the weekend and ratified it at Tuesday's meeting. It goes to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for approval.

Stone noted that the county's emergency declaration for tsunami damage at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor was approved in a day.

The declaration could help local government recoup 75 percent of the repair costs. FEMA dollars, if made available, would pay three-quarters of the remaining 25 percent, according to Stone.

Road closures are posted and regularly updated on the county's roads website. Below are the current storm-related closures.


Location Problem


Branciforte Drive 300 block road washout one lane open, stop signs Buzzard Lagoon Road past address 117 slide one lane open El Rancho Drive between Carbonera Estates and La Madrona Drive road slipout one lane open, stop signs Glen Canyon Road address 400 road washout one lane open, stop signs Glenwood Drive milemarker 5.56 slide one lane open Hazel Dell Road milemarker 2.08 slip out ROAD CLOSED Highland Way between milemarkers 2.21-3.63 slide and debris in roadway ROAD CLOSED Larkin Valley Road at Buena Vista Drive road failure ROAD CLOSED Nelson Road Skymeadow lane large slide ROAD CLOSED Olive Springs Road near the quarry entrance slide one lane open Redwood Lodge Road milemarker 1.65 road failure ROAD CLOSED Rodeo Gulch Road north milemarker 4.73 washout one lane open, stop signs Rodeo Gulch Road north milemarker 1.78 washout one lane open, stop signs Whiting Road closed from Casserly Road to Paulson Road road flooded ROAD CLOSED
Terry Way March 30, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Capitola flood images and video here. http://terrywayphotography.blogspot.com/
Jacob Bourne March 30, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Thanks for sharing Terry!


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