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Severe Weather To Come, Precautions Taken

Sailboats washed up on East Beach.
Michelle J. Wong

Although the wind has been blowing and the rain falling for a few days now, according to weather reports, the big storm is not set to hit until tonight. Meteorologists are expecting rain and strong Southeast winds tonight, and City and County services are preparing flood control measures in the face of more severe weather to come.

The City has sandbags available at the City Annex Yard at 401 E Yanonali Street. City residents experiencing flooding are entitled to 20 sandbags per trip, but must supply their own gloves and shovel to fill the bags. The County Public Works Department is also offering free sand and sandbags to County residents at the County’s corporation yards in Santa Barbara at 4430 Calle Real, near the County Solid Waste Transfer Station, and in Santa Maria at 912 W. Foster Rd. The sand and sand bags are available on an honor, self-service system and residents are asked to observe a 25-bag limit.

Picking useable pieces from an abandoned sail boat.
Michelle J. Wong

County officials closed Lake Cachuma to boaters, and are monitoring the water level in case water needs to be spilled from Bradbury Dam to prevent flooding. Tom Fayram, Deputy Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department, said that the water level would have to rise by another ten feet for that to be necessary, so no formal request has yet been made to open the dam’s floodgates.

The City Parks Department cordoned off a section of Shoreline Park, where a sinkhole developed in the wake of heavy rains. The area is being monitored for continuing damage, which could take out a section of the bluff and a piece of the blufftop walkway.

Michelle J. Wong

During the past 24 hours, five boats have washed ashore on East Beach and Butterfly Beach. “None were from our permitted mooring area,” said Mick Kronman, the operations manager for the City Waterfront Department. “That’s good, because our permitted moorings are strong-for more permanent anchorage. Inside the harbor, there’s been no damage to speak of, but we’re expecting a lot of Southeast rain and wind tonight.” A statement by the City said that City Crews will work with boat owners to clean up affected beaches after the storm is over.

County public safety officials from the County’s Fire, Sheriff, Public Works, Public Health and Office of Emergency Services also offered a few tips regarding emergencies and emergency preparedness:

1. Do not drive unless necessary during severe storms. If you’re driving, use caution and slow down as roadways can be slick or cluttered with storm debris or excess storm water. If you’re driving to or through mountain areas, be sure to have snow chains and extra emergency supplies in the car.

2. Make sure you have a family emergency plan of action and everybody in your household knows what to do if a serious emergency or emergency evacuation occurs.

3. Stay out of flooded areas. If you see a flooded roadway ahead, turn around and find another route to get to your destination. If there is no other route, proceed to higher ground and wait for the waters to subside or for emergency help.

4. Stay away from fast-moving water flowing in creeks, streams or rivers as the banks of such waterways can be soft and easily collapse.

More tips are available on the County website and at www.sbredcross.org, and rainfall information is available at http://www.countyofsb.org/pwd/water/raindailys.htm.

Too small an anchor?
Michelle J. Wong

Information about major emergencies and flooding events can be obtained by the City and County websites-www.santabarbaraca.gov, and www.countyofsb.org-or by watching the County’s cable TV station on channel 20. Up to date weather information can be obtained from the National Weather Service’s weather radio, TV, or on the internet.

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