Santa Paula: Projected storm, winds could create emergency situation

December 16, 2016
Santa Paula News

As you read this, Santa Paula could be in the middle of a storm crisis, something unexpected when you’ve barely had rain for five years.

But beginning Thursday afternoon through Friday, Ventura County including Santa Paula is expected to be experiencing significant rain and possible flash flooding. Then, strong winds will move in.

The storm moving southeast from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, could bring up to 1.5 inches in valley areas and 2 inches to even 3 inches in the mountain areas.

Santa Paula is a valley surrounded by mountains, so you know what that means. 

And, since the rainfall is expected to be swift and hard, flooding is a possibility. Once the rain ends there is a concern that strong winds will down power lines and trees in soggy ground.

According to the National Weather Service Los Angeles-Oxnard, “The warm nature of this storm system ahead of the cold front will bring periods of heavy rain. Rainfall rates capable of triggering flash flooding and debris flows within the recent burn areas will be possible. Rain will turn to showers by Friday morning. 

A flash flood watch means that while no flash flooding is occurring, conditions may develop that will lead to flash flooding.” 

For more NWS information, visit its webpage at:

Following the storm east winds are expected on Saturday, which will contribute to possible tree falls from saturated soil and possible power outages. 

Those who know their properties have flooding issues should already be prepared with sandbags and sand. 

According to SPFD Asst. Chief Vern Alstot, emergency responders throughout Ventura County met Wednesday for a storm Operational Awareness meeting.

“About 50 percent of the larger agencies,” ranging from Ventura County Fire to Caltrans, “will be staffing with extra personnel…they’re expecting rain inundation will also impact traffic conditions.”

For storm emergencies, City of Santa Paula Public Works is supplying sandbags and sand at the Public Works Yard (903 Corporation Way, until 3 p.m. Friday) and Fire Station 81 (on South 10th St.) and at Todd Road Jail, 600 Todd Road. Sandbags only will be available at Fire Station 82 on West Main Street next to the Community Center.

Realizing Santa Paula’s large senior population, Alstot said those that need help in protecting their property will have it available as, “We will have standby help for those not able to do it themselves.”

Steve Lazenby will be activating the Ready Santa Paula 1610 AM radio station for city public service and emergency announcements.

The Ventura County Office of Emergency Services will open the web EOC as of Thursday morning, but if need be they will activate the physical Emergency Operations Center and the City of Santa Paula will be advised; if necessary, the city will also activate the EOC. 

“If we need to open our EOC, it will be at our City Hall and supported by CERT and the Disaster Service Workers,” with the help of Martha Brown said Alstot.

And, he added, “We have a plan if things get worse.”

Ventura County Fire will add extra personnel and Search & Water Rescue will be standing by with equipment and rescuers. Santa Paula Fire will add engines and personnel as needed.

Residents are advised not to go into water to take care of clogged drainage and rather be prepared by cleaning out debris before storms, including home rain gutters. 

Twelfth Street, Santa Paula Street, areas below Highway 126 and up Ojai Road are known as flood zones so avoid those areas and stay away from creeks and the Santa Clara River.

Traffic safety must be considered and it’s best to stay home.

“Turn around, don’t drown” by not attempting to drive or walk across running water.

Communication is vital and all citizens should sign up for VC Alert or text 313131 for the link, which will advise of emergencies and road closures. Another source is that will offer regular updates on the storm and wind event, including road closures and evacuations.

Of particular concern in Ventura County is Camarillo Springs area, a so-called “burn area” now prone to slides that has destroyed property in past rain events. La Conchita, the beach community north of Ventura was the scene of a 2005 mudslide that killed 10 people.

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