While the Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) experienced an increased number of calls for service due to the rain, little serious damage was reported.
As the sun begins to peek out from behind the clouds that have blanketed the city for the last few days, Santa Monica seems to be emerging from the recent spate of storms relatively unscathed.
Recent storms have poured a tremendous amount of water on the state, especially in central California, including the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Valley. Precipitation is 138% of average for this time of year, officials said. The storms have also dumped snow on the Sierra Nevada that run along California’s eastern border.
At least 17 people have died in the storms battering the state. The figure is likely to rise, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday during a visit to the scenic town of Capitola on the Santa Cruz coast that was hard hit by high surf and flooding creek waters last week. More than half of California’s 58 counties were declared disaster areas, the governor said.
While the Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) experienced an increased number of calls for service due to the rain, little serious damage was reported. The majority of rain-related incidents the department responded to included power outages resulting in stuck elevators, false fire alarms, and reports of downed power lines. The rain also contributed to flooding in some local businesses and residences.
During one heavy period of rain on Tuesday Jan. 10 at 12:30 a.m. a vehicle traveling east on Santa Monica Blvd. collided with a parked box truck with two people inside, according to a spokesperson for the Santa Monica Police Department who said one person had to be extricated from a vehicle at the site. Three people were transported to a local hospital.
The Public Landscape division received calls for three medium-sized fallen trees and one fallen limb. The fallen limb caused minor damage to a vehicle but all were successfully cleared. Staff cleared other fallen debris to ensure drains were kept open.
Significant debris was also deposited along the beach due a combination of the rain and high tides. The City said that one storm drain near the beach became blocked by sand and had to be cleared by Beach Maintenance personnel. Large amounts of sand have been washed away under the pier resulting in the base of the security fence becoming exposed. Officials said the sand will be replaced as soon as the weather allows.
Santa Monica schools also reported little disruption with classes continuing as usual. A spokesperson for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District said several roof leaks were addressed by facilities and maintenance staff. Malibu school facilities were closed on Tuesday Jan. 10 due to road conditions but instruction continued through remote learning. All SMMUSD facilities had reopened as of Wednesday Jan. 11.
The City spokesperson said Santa Monica’s Office of Emergency Management has been closely monitoring NOAA weather forecasts and regional storm activity and communicating important information to City departments. Residents can stay informed by signing up for SM alerts at www.santamonica.gov/alerts to receive public safety messages and notifications regarding rainfall, potential flooding and power outages.
While the return of sunny skies may make the beach seem tempting, the LA County Department of Public Health warns against going in the water due to high levels of bacteria, chemicals, debris and trash due to storm water runoff and has issued a beach water use advisory effective through at least Jan. 13 at 3 p.m., depending on further rainfall.
Rain is forecast to begin again in Santa Monica Saturday Jan. 14 with more showers and potential storms early next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.