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Update from the Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center

Dear Community Partners,

As many of you know by now, the Pajaro River breached last night just after midnight. The breach was on the Monterey County side of the levee, about three miles north of the town of Pajaro. The water has since moved through agricultural fields and is now flooding the town, including residences and businesses.

The scale of this disaster is still unfolding, and the river is still running high. While we have not seen impacts on the Santa Cruz County side of the levee at this time, we continue monitoring the situation for the safety of our protection of our residents, as well as to support Monterey County‘s response on behalf of their residents.

Monterey County is marshalling significant resources to assist with flood response. This includes local and state experts and emergency personnel, as well as National Guard assistance to help evacuate remaining residents from the town of Pajaro.

While the extent of this disaster is still to be determined, it is likely that a long-term response will be required with potential displacement of residents lasting days, if not weeks. We are working closely with Monterey County, the City of Watsonville and others to stand up nearby shelters on our side of the Pajaro River, and will continue monitoring capacity to ensure that we are meeting the needs of those displaced by the flood.

We must come together in times like this. These residents will need our support, and yours. Your organizations provide critical services to the community, and there is no time like a crisis for our partners to demonstrate the incredible value with which we hold you. Those with resources will be able to manage this event better than those without. As you know, you help fill significant gaps in the needs of our community. The time is now for all of us to step on behalf of those who need our support.

In conjunction with Monterey County, we expect to share more information about the specific needs of evacuees. In the meantime, we are sharing information from Monterey County about their efforts, so that you may better communicate with your constituents and supporters should any questions arise. We are also working with our federal partners to assure that both counties would be added to any forthcoming federal disaster declaration in order to better support any community recovery.

We also maintain a list of storm resources including shelter sites, which will be updated as operations evolve. Please feel free to share this information as well.

Thank you, Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center


The attached Monterey County status report is as of 9:30 a.m. Monterey County is also holding a press conference at 3 p.m. today to share more information with the community.  It will be streamed live on

Current Situation in Pajaro. (This information is evolving.)

The Pajaro River levee breached at approximately midnight Friday, March 10th upstream from the community of Pajaro in the vicinity of River Mile 10. The breach is approximately 100 feet wide at this time. State and local engineers are assessing the situation and next actions. 

Door-to-door evacuation notifications began approximately 3:00 pm yesterday to connect with residents who may not have left when emergency notices were issed. After the levee break occurred, Sheriff's teams did approximately 60 rescues from this area.

Additional high water vehicles are enroute to Pajaro, four are already in place. Dive, search and rescue teams onsite and enroute. Damage assessment teams are enroute.

Some residents evacuated yesterday and overnight but did not leave the area and we are working to get them transported to emergency shelters. MST is providing free transportation to shelters, temporary evacuation points.  All those in need of emergency assistance should go to the shelter they are most easily able to reach.

Current situation in San Ardo:

The Salinas River has flooded in the area of the community of San Ardo. Cattleman Road leading into the community is closed. Evacuation orders were issued overnight.  All those in need of emergency assistance should go to the shelter they are most easily able to reach.

Evacuation Orders

•          Areas of Aroyo Seco, Effective Immediately March 10th

•          Pajaro Community, Effective Immediately, March 10th

•          San Ardo, Effective Immediately, March 11th

Evacuation Warnings have been issued for the following locations:

•          Areas of Carmel Valley, Effective Immediately March 10th

•          Areas of North Salinas, Effective Immediately March 9th 

•          Areas of Bolsa Knolls, Effective Immediately, March 9th

•          Carmel River Lagoon area, Effective Immediately, March 9th

•          Big Sur River, Effective Friday, March 10th at 5pm

•         All areas of the Salinas River, Effective Immediately, March 10th

The total population under evacuation warning, order is 8,528. 

Evacuation map:

Details at

Link to Department of Emergency Management Storm Incident webpage: 

Emergency Shelters:

Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds 2061 E. Lake Blvd, Watsonville

Compass Church, 10325 S. Main Street, Salinas

Temporary Evacuation Points.

All TEPs are open 24 hours. Evacuees who want to go to an Emergency Shelter but need transportation should go to a TEP to make arrangements. 

Prunedale Library           17822 Moro Rd

Carmel Valley Library      65 W. Carmel Valley Rd.

King City Library              402 Broadway St.

Sherwood Hall           940 N. Main Street, Salinas

Shelter Population (at current time)

Compass Church: 27

Santa Cruz Fairgrounds  39

Sherwood Hall ( Salinas)  35

The Monterey Convention and Visitors Bureau has a link for evacuation rates area hotels are offering if and when evacuation orders are issued. Community Connection

Road Information: 

Hard road closure in effect West of 47158 Arroyo Seco Rd. Due to Flooding and Structural Damage to the road. NEW

County Road Closures:

TAMC Cone Zone Road information and links:

CalTrans Highway information:

Sand Stockpiles and Sand Bag Distribution 

Sandbag Distribution List

Sand Stockpiles

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