Thomas, 39, has been surviving on a mostly outdoor existence since age 15.
(Mark Conley / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Homelessness response amid storms, a weather glossary and asanas for all

Hi folks. It’s Thursday, Jan. 12, and the forecast calls for a much-needed, though brief, break for Santa Cruz County from the deluge. A good time for some quick repairs and other preparation before the next wave of storms rolls in ahead of the weekend.

If it’s new Lookout content you seek, right this way.
JUMP TO ... Latest News | Opinion | Events | Guides | Puzzles | Obituaries

It’s been a challenging time for Santa Cruz County’s unhoused population, and efforts to find shelter for those who need it have been uneven, Mark Conley reports. “When the system gets strained in an emergency like it is now, it’s not like they have the ability to bring more people on quickly and grow services,” former Santa Cruz mayor Don Lane told him.

If you’re struggling to keep up with all the jargon this extreme weather has brought with it — evacuation order vs. warning? bomb cyclone? red-tagging? — you’re not alone, and Isabel Swafford is along with a handy glossary to help keep it all straight.

Our Santa Cruz County Storm Central is also constantly updated, with information on school and road closures, links to evacuation zone maps and much more.

And if you’re looking for some stress relief, Marisa Messina might have the ticket. Yoga has changed her life, she writes in our Community Voices opinion section, and she’s hoping to bring it to a broader audience.

Now, how about some headlines?

From the Civic to Depot Park: How are Santa Cruz’s unhoused citizens holding up in the storms?

One of the 23 unhoused folks who stayed at the Depot Park shelter Monday night preps for a morning smoke.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Helping Santa Cruz’s most vulnerable residents, those experiencing chronic homelessness, find cover from the elements has been challenging during this historic run of extreme winter weather. An emergency 24/7 shelter at the Civic Auditorium was shut down due to what the city called “inadequate resources” and what others described as a chaotic environment. Another smaller overnight shelter that launched at Depot Park is attempting to fill the void and staffed by an organization better equipped to handle the unhoused population, observers say. Mark Conley reports.

MORE: ‘The world is missing something without him’: Santa Cruz memorializes its unhoused fatalities

Atmospheric rivers, bomb cyclones and red tags: A guide to storm lingo

Satellite view of bomb cyclone and atmospheric river.
(NOAA & Los Angeles Times)

As storms continue to rage through Santa Cruz County, there’s a hurricane of technical terms and official statements whirling across the region. In this quick guide, Lookout defines some essential words and phrases about the recent extreme weather.

ALONG THE SAN LORENZO: With floodwaters quieted, Felton Grove residents dig out from under the muck and mire


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.

If the break in the rain has you thinking about getting out and about, Lookout has just the man to be your guide: Wallace Baine will be back later Thursday with Weekender, a recommendation-packed look at Santa Cruz County’s arts and entertainment scene. You can sign up for here for that and all of our other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts via email and text. If social media is your thing, follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay current.

Dependable, trustworthy local journalism is more crucial now than ever, and community support is vital — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Enjoy Thursday’s dry respite, and I’ll meet you back here Friday a.m.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz