More than 5 inches of rain in Ben Lomond, more on way as atmospheric river rolls through

A swollen Soquel Creek on Friday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Though Santa Cruz County will see more rain over the weekend and during the first half of next week, it will not be as intense as what fell overnight Thursday into Friday morning. With river levels diminishing, all eyes are on the Pajaro River and the tributaries draining into it.

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An atmospheric river made landfall in Santa Cruz County overnight Thursday into Friday and dropped more than 5 inches of rain in Ben Lomond. National Weather Service meteorologist Brayden Murdock said there is another spate of rain on the way, bringing more showers to the region, but “not nearly as intense as what we saw last night.”

Scattered showers are expected to continue through the rest of Friday, though the precipitation will be more focused in the southern part of Monterey Bay.

Storm Central keeps you updated as another atmospheric river rolls through Santa Cruz County. Check back here as Lookout...

While coastal conditions were simply breezy, topping out with gusts of around 40 mph, the Santa Cruz Mountains saw gusts that almost doubled that. Mount Umunhum in Santa Clara County had gusts of 70 mph, and areas near Los Gatos saw gusts up to 79 mph.

The San Lorenzo River hit 20.35 feet Thursday night, Murdock said, just about an inch below the major flooding stage.

He added that river water levels have begun decreasing, and he expects that to continue. However, there could be minor jumps in the water level due to runoff still making its way downstream.

There is more rain on the way over the weekend and the first half of next week. Murdock said another weak system will pass through the northern Bay Area on Saturday going into Sunday, but will still bring some rain to Santa Cruz.

Another system will hit landfall Monday and stretch through midweek, bringing about 2 to 3 inches to the city of Santa Cruz and up to 5 inches again in the mountains — but spread out over three days instead of all within a 24-hour period, said Murdock — “It’s more snacking than it is feasting like we did last night.”

A swollen Bates Creek took out a section of North Main Street, just south of Cherryvale Avenue and north of Soquel...

NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Brian Garcia was in Soquel assessing and documenting the Main Street washout. He told Lookout’s Kevin Painchaud that all eyes are now on the Pajaro River, running through Watsonville on the Santa Cruz-Montery county line.

“We’ll see how all of the watersheds draining into it end up filling it and what kind of inundation we might have,” Garcia said.

The county emergency operations center remains operating at level 1, meaning that its emergency management positions in the center are staffed and on site. County spokesperson Jason Hoppin said county personnel would reassess whether or not to change that level Friday evening.

An overhead view of washed-out North Main Street at Bates Creek in Soquel.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)


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