Crews face a landslide in the Santa Cruz Mountains
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Storm updates, school closures and surfing the megaswell

Hello, everyone. It’s Tuesday, Jan. 10, and Santa Cruz County will see on-and-off rain into the evening, with continued breezy conditions that could bring down more trees and power lines across the area, something that kept first responders very busy overnight. Another good day to stay off the roads if possible.

The latest from Lookout awaits, if you’re so inclined.
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The ongoing string of storms has affected instruction around the county. UC Santa Cruz is in remote mode through at least Tuesday as some areas cope with power issues, Hillary Ojeda reports, and school districts in the Pajaro Valley and San Lorenzo Valley are among those canceling classes.

And while we might be getting a break from the bomb cyclone pattern that has wreaked so much havoc, now’s not the time to relax, experts tell Hillary and Christopher Neely. “Do not let your guard down, more rain is on the way, and everyone needs to be ready to evacuate, especially in the low-lying areas,” a county spokesperson warns.

Visit Santa Cruz County Storm Central for more information, links to evacuation zone maps and much more.

Meanwhile, Mark Conley got the surfer perspective on last week’s wave barrage, outlining a fraught relationship between local surfers and big swell events.

Tuesday’s headlines also include Community Voices opinion columnist Claudia Sternbach trying to make sense of the stormy start to the new year, so please, read along.

Some Santa Cruz County school closures extend into Tuesday as storm evacuation orders continue

A family watches the floodwaters rise in front of their home off E. Lake Avenue in Watsonville on Monday, January 9, 2023.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

All Pajaro Valley Unified School District schools will be closed Tuesday, affected more than 18,000 students. San Lorenzo Valley Unified schools are also shuttered, as are a pair in the Soquel Union Elementary district, and administrators say they’re keeping a close eye on an ever-changing picture. Hillary Ojeda has details.

IMPACT ON HIGHER ED: UC Santa Cruz loses some power, will continue remote instruction through Tuesday

Riders on the storm: Santa Cruz surfers’ yin-yang relationship with historic megaswell events

The waves crashing into and around the Walton Lighthouse on Jan. 4 were larger than most can remember.
(Via Clay Butler)

There is much cleanup and rebuilding to be done after the storms battering Santa Cruz County, damage that hadn’t been seen for decades. There is also an epic sandbar building up off the San Lorenzo rivermouth. It’s a complex equation for those who live their best Santa Cruz lives tapping into the ocean’s energy and often risking their own personal safety for reasons few others could understand. Mark Conley dives in.

MORE FROM MARK: ‘We’re here for you’: In wake of tragedy, Santa Cruz surfing community doubles down on generation next


One last thing: Lookout is working on an ongoing series exploring working life and we’d love your input. How did you get your job? What do you love most about it? What are the biggest challenges? What do students and recent graduates need to know about how to get into your industry? Share your stories and career advice with us — email us at and put “career advice” in the subject line.

With so much in flux around Santa Cruz County at the moment, you can stay current by following Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also offer breaking news alerts via email and text, which you can sign up for here. That link will also get you subscribed to all of our newsletters, including Lily Belli on Food, hitting inboxes in mere hours.

Community support is absolutely crucial to what we’re doing here at Lookout, so please consider becoming a Lookout member if you’re not already. And to all our members, thank you.

Take care out there!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz