Extreme Weather in USA on Saturday, 01 December, 2012 at 05:11 (05:11 AM) UTC.
A healthy winter storm brought pounding rain, power outages and some flooded streets to Santa Cruz County on Friday. Another storm is expected to blast the county Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service. “There’s some rain possible in the afternoon on Saturday but the heaviest will be overnight with fairly similar rainfall amounts,” said Austin Cross, a forecaster with the National Weather Service. A weather station in Boulder Creek measured 4.8 inches of rain from 4 p.m. Thursday to 4 p.m. Friday — the most rain the county. Other areas such as Davenport, Soquel, Watsonville and Santa Cruz had 1-2 inches of rain, the Weather Service reported. A flash flood watch will be in effect through Monday morning. The rising Pajaro River flooded Beach Road on Friday morning, but a sandbar that blocked the river from the ocean was breached by ocean waves about 1:20 p.m. Water receded Friday afternoon on Beach and Shell roads, Santa Cruz County officials said. When Beach and Shell roads flood, they can trap Pajaro Dunes residents in their beachfront neighborhood. Most vehicles could pass Friday morning through 1 foot or more of standing water. Many Pajaro Dunes residents had urged the county to remove the sandbar earlier with heavy equipment — which a crew had ready Friday morning.
Bruce LaClergue, county flood control program manager, said officials preferred the ocean sweep away the sandbar naturally to protect marine life. Federal and state rules dictate when equipment can be used to clear the sandbar. “This is a naturally occurring phenomenon. We knew this would happen,” LaClergue said of the natural outflow. With the exception of the Pajaro River, no other rivers in the county were flooded, said Melodye Serino, Santa Cruz County’s public information officer. Organizers of the Downtown Santa Cruz Holiday Parade said they would decide Saturday morning whether to run it. The event features floats, marching bands, fire engines and horses. The parade is planned for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday on Pacific Avenue. Power outages peaked about 9:45 a.m. when roughly 1,400 customers were without electricity mostly in the San Lorenzo Valley, according to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. A tree that fell on wires in Boulder Creek caused a major outage, as well as wires that were knocked down in Ben Lomond. PG&E spokeswoman Monica Tell said about 600 residents were without power about 3 p.m. Crews expected power to be restored in both areas by 9 p.m. Friday.