The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services (OES) is increasing warnings to local residents in response to the current and predicted weather. OES has been in contact with local officials flood control and emergency officials (10:31 a.m.).
According to the County Flood Control monitors, during the last 24-hour period, rain in the Lake Cachuma area has totaled approximately 9.25 inches with approximately 7 inches in the San Marcos area. OES is receiving wide reports of tress down in roadways and debris such as boulders and rocks also impacting traffic. CHP is reporting multiple vehicle accidents.
OES is strongly advising residents to avoid any unnecessary travel. Persons are also ordered to stay away from any creeks or rivers. Lake Cachuma is anticipated to be spilling at this time. Because of the dramatic rise in the lake levels, the managers of Bradbury Dam, the Bureau of Reclamation, will be releasing water. Very heavy river flow in the Santa Ynez River is anticipated. The lower river area in the Lompoc Valley may be impacted by heavy Santa Ynez River flows.
The national Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flash flood warning for a wide area of Santa Barbara County. Heavy rains which began Saturday night are likely to continue through Monday morning. Santa Barbara County Fire has increased engine staffing, hand crews, and swift water rescue. County Flood Control has increased field monitoring staff and are closely watching major rivers and streams.
Persons living in low lying areas or flood-prone areas should be prepared to take actions necessary to leave their residents or locations. While some isolated flooding has occurred, no evacuations are ordered at this moment; that is subject to change and persons should anticipate their situations.
As the weather situation continues to progress, the Santa Barbara County OES will monitor the federal, state and local recommendations and advise accordingly.
OES Special Statement: Emergency Officials Put Adds More Areas to Warning
The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services is increasing warnings to local residents in response to the current and predicted weather. OES has been in contact with local officials flood control and emergency officials.
OES, in consultation with County Fire, County Sheriff and County Flood Control, are advising the residents west of the City of Lompoc, to be alerted to the increased potential of flooding and that they should be prepared to evacuate IF ordered. No evacuations are ordered at this time.
The specific area of advisory is west of Bailey Avenue to Renwick Avenue, and Ocean Avenue to the Santa Ynez River. None of the advisories – at this time – include the City of Lompoc itself.
According to the County Flood Control monitors, during the last 24-hour period, rain in the Lake Cachuma area has totaled approximately 10.5 inches with approximately 8.7 inches in the San Marcos area. OES is receiving wide reports of trees down in roadways and debris such as boulders and rocks also impacting traffic. CHP is reporting multiple vehicle accidents. Current road closures include, but may not be limited to, E. Camino Cielo closed from Painted Cave to Gibraltar due to rock and mud slides, and Cold Springs crossing on Mountain Drive and Romero crossing on Bella Vista closed due to flooding.
The County’s Emergency Operations Center continues to be activated as part of monitoring the serious weather system impacting the county. There are two areas of concern: Lake Cachuma and the large flow into the Santa Ynez River, and the situation in the City of Guadalupe where, as a precautionary measure, the City has evacuated approximately 24 residents from homes out of concern for the Santa Maria River.
The latest report has Lake Cachuma discharging approximately 20,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) into the Santa Ynez River. The amount draining into Cachuma has reduced to approximately 20,000 cfs (a high of 23,147 occurred at 8:00 PM). OES and hydrology experts remain concerned that the volume going into Lake Cachuma may require an increase of discharge into the Santa Ynez River which could result in flooding.
According to Michael Harris, emergency operations chief, “We remain cautiously optimistic that the amount being discharged from Lake Cachuma will not be so much that flooding in the area west of Lompoc City will occur.” Harris went on to say, “However, if the situation changes, the EOC remains prepared to alert those residents who may be at risk.”
Again, the area west of the City of Lompoc (Bailey Avenue west to Renwick Avenue and north of Ocean Boulevard to the Santa Ynez River) is NOT being evacuated. The approximate 16 homes and their residents are being advised to remain vigilant as their area is particularly vulnerable.
Guadalupe has evacuated about 24 people along the Pioneer Street area as a precautionary measure. Guadalupe is seeing some minor localized flooding similar to the December 2010 storms. No home impacts yet. OES has alerted Red Cross to the Guadalupe shelter needs and the Red Cross is working directly with the City of Guadalupe. City Hall is the current shelter.
OES has also notified the Red Cross to prepare for any Lompoc area evacuations, IF evacuations are ordered.
Guadalupe City reports that they have been able to mitigate the water coming from the Santa Maria River. Guadalupe City has closed their emergency shelter and allowed residents to return to their Pioneer Street homes.