Lookout’s guide to preparing for the coming storm

Santa Cruz beaches
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

It can be difficult to keep track of all of the different websites and hotlines out there when seeking the best information in a natural disaster. We’ve tried to make it easier for you.

We have compiled a list of resources that you can refer to in order to keep yourself and those close to you safe during the storm. Scroll through this guide to access information on evacuation zones, power outages, storm progress, and more.

Evacuation zones
The county has issued evacuation warnings to parts of Pajaro Valley, Rio Del Mar, Felton, and Boulder Creek. Use this site to search your address and see if your area is within an evacuation zone.

The City of Watsonville has set up a shelter at Cesar Chavez Middle School, 440 Arthur Rd., for evacuees. Pets will not be allowed and must be dropped off at the animal shelter at 580 Airport Blvd.

The city has also opened Ramsay Park at 1301 Main St. as a place for evacuated families to meet up and receive information about services. Anyone who needs help with transportation can call the city’s Lift Line at (831) 688-9663.

City of Santa Cruz sandbag info
Sandbags can be helpful in keeping water out of your home, office, or business by stacking them against entry points. Click the link above to find out where to pick up sandbags.

Additionally, click here for sandbag pickup locations in unincorporated parts of the county.

PG&E power outages
High winds and heavy rain mean that power outages are likely to occur. Use the outage map linked above to check the areas currently out of power, and the estimated times for restoration.

Local Road Closures
Like power outages, road closures are common in big storms. Check the map linked above for a look at all of the road closures around the county.

Storm Central keeps you updated as we watch, wait and assess. Check back here as Lookout correspondents reach out across...

Local Highway info
The major highways that run in and out of Santa Cruz may be affected by the storm. Check the map linked above to the latest information regarding highway closures.

National Weather Service
Here, you can find detailed information and forecasting for the rest of the week, including specifics on wind, chance of rain, and specific times to expect changes in the weather.

Rain totals and water levels
The National Weather Service expects 3-6 inches of rain in some parts of the county and as much as 10 inches in areas of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Check this site to get the most up-to-date data on rainfall accumulation and stream water levels.

Emergency Alerts
Sign up for CodeRED, Santa Cruz County’s 911 emergency alert system, to get evacuation notices and other notifications sent to your landline, mobile phone or through a smartphone app.

Storm Preparedness Checklist
Santa Cruz County has published a detailed storm preparedness checklist. Here are some things you can do right away to prepare for the coming storm:

  • Check your roof for leaks, especially around flashing where many leaks occur.
  • Clear your gutters and downspouts.
  • Clear culverts and maintain proper drainage around your property.
  • Check your property for proper grading and surfacing, including making sure water runs away from walls.
  • Have shovels, sandbags, plastic sheeting and other emergency equipment on hand. Store in a dry, accessible location. Sandbags aren’t the only thing that divert water. Straw-waddle landscaping tubing and even bags of dirt can direct water away from structures. Make sure you have them on hand.
  • Check stressed trees by calling in an arborist if you have concerns. The drought has been hard on trees, and sudden rains are likely to fell more than a few.
  • Secure yard furniture, especially items that might blow away and cause damage during a storm.
  • Scan important documents and put on a flash drive or in the cloud. Store drive in a safe location.
  • Secure important family items, such as photographs, jewelry, mementos, etc.
  • If you have a well, ensure that the well head area is clean, clear and sealed.
  • Remove dirt and leaf litter from the well pad and around the well head.


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