Evacuation warning issued for parts of San Mateo County, orders for Santa Cruz mountains ahead of storm

Evacuation warnings were announced for parts of San Mateo County on Monday evening.

Cal Fire CZU posted notification on social media at 5:30 p.m. that evacuations were effective immediately due to the forecasted rainfall and risk of debris flow. 

The following areas are affected: 

  • South Coast Zone SMC-E019, which includes Coastanoa and Año Nuevo State Park. This includes Whitehouse Canyon Road and areas south of Gazos Creek Road.
  • South Coast Zone SMC-038, which includes Butano State Park and the Community of Barranca Knolls, west of Cloverdale Road.
  • The Communities of Loma Mar and Dearborn Park in Zone SMC-E018.
  • The Community of Butano Canyon in Zone SMC-E-098

These areas have a high potential for danger and people should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice, according to the warning notification. Officials anticipate many of these areas will upgraded to evacuation orders.

Further south, thousands of people were included in an evacuation order issued Monday morning in parts of the Santa Cruz mountains ahead of heavy rains expected this week. 

Cal Fire issued an evacuation order for the areas of Ben Lomand, Boulder Creek and Felton due to the high potential of debris flow. Earlier Monday morning, an evacuation warning was issued for the San Lorenzo Valley in the Santa Cruz mountains. The areas were hit hard by the CZU Lightning Fire in August. 

Deputies began going door to door in high risks areas on Sunday and continued Monday. They're warning of potential roadblocks, downed power lines and debris flow that could make it challenging for people to leave if they wait too long. The high-risk areas could see a rain top .3 inches every 15 minutes and up to .7 inches per hour, according to an advisory issued by weather officials. 

"These thresholds, we're going to meet them," said Clark. "Not only are we going to meet them but there is a whole other component of this storm that concerns me and all others involved. And that's the wind."

Clark said they expect gusts of up to 60 miles per hour in the event that's expected to peak Tuesday afternoon and into Wednesday morning, officials said in a press conference Monday. Up to 5,000 people and 2,800 structures could potentially be impacted by the order. This does not include the number of people included in the evacuation warning, which officials did not have a number for. 

"They're going to knock on the door and ask you to leave," said Clark. "I would strongly advise you to take that warning and make arrangements to stay elsewhere."

Evacuation centers have been set up in Felton, Scotts Valley and Davenport.

Heavy rains are expected Tuesday and through the weekend and there were already signs along the highways in the area letting people know they can expect flooding. Landslides in the burn area are a big concern, too. 

In August and September, the CZU Lightning Fire in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties burned through 86,000 acres.

Santa Cruz emergency officials say people who live in the Davenport zone of the Santa Cruz mountains need to have a bag packed and their essential belongings with them to be ready to leave their homes at a moment's notice.

The National Weather Service is expecting anywhere from 8 to 12 inches of rain to hit the area over the course of this winter storm.

Santa Cruz County officials said it's not yet clear when people who evacuate can expect to return home. Evacuation points have been set up at San Lorenzo Valley High School, Scott's Valley Community Center and Pacific Elementary School. There will be space for extended parking, due to the coronavirus. Red Cross will be on the scene to provide assistance. 

For the latest evacuation order and warning information, refer to the Cal Fire San Mateo and Santa Cruz unit's Twitter page. 

A map that shows which zone you live in is available at community.zonehaven.com.