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Evacuation and shelter-in-place orders mostly lifted throughout the Central Coast

Northbound Highway 101 is reopened after being closed at Avila Beach Drive during the peak of this week's storm.
SLO County/Twitter
Northbound Highway 101 is reopened after being closed at Avila Beach Drive during the peak of this week's storm.

Update: January 14, 5:40p.m.

SLO County has announced a community meeting tomorrow for residents under evacuation orders and warnings in South SLO County.

The county said in a press release today that people in the Arroyo Grande Levee and Oceano lagoon area under evacuation orders or warnings are encouraged to attend the meeting. It is scheduled for tomorrow, January 12 at 6:30p.m. in the Oceano Community Services District (OCSD) Board Room at 1655, Front St., Oceano.

The meeting will provide "critical information and updates about the current evacuation warning and potential future evacuation orders" and it will also be streamed on Facebook Live.

The meeting will be hosted by Supervisors Jimmy Paulding and Dawn Ortiz-Legg. Representatives from CAL FIRE, Five Cities Fire Authority, the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services, County Public Works, and the Sheriff’s Office will be there to communicate information and answer questions, according to the county.

Update: January 11, 4p.m.

The Central Coast is in the middle of a break in the winter storm, and communities around the area are recovering and preparing for more rain this weekend.

Most evacuation orders on the Central Coast are lifted, including in Paso Robles, Montecito, Carpinteria and other areas. However, there is still one area in SLO County under mandatory evacuation orders.

The orders are in South SLO County for all areas south of the Arroyo Grande Creek Channel for one mile and west of Highway 1.

Meanwhile, there is a non-mandatory evacuation warning for south of Pier Ave to the ocean, north and east of Strand Way and River Ave., then east to the railroad tracks and back up to Pier Ave.

People under evacuation warnings should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice, but it is not a lawful order to leave.

Check emergencyslo.org for an updated list of evacuation orders and warnings in SLO County. Santa Barbara County’s website is readysbc.org, though there are no active evacuations there.

Areas near the Arroyo Grande Channel are still under evacuation orders as of 2:30p.m. Tuesday.
Areas near the Arroyo Grande Channel are still under evacuation orders as of 2:30p.m. Tuesday.

SLO County Public Health Department said almost 10,000 gallons of sewage was released into Morro Creek on Monday.

The health department is advising people to stay away from the ocean, not just because of this sewage but because any significant rainstorm can bring disease-causing bacteria and viruses into the ocean. Any contact with contaminated water while swimming, surfing or doing other activities in the ocean can lead to rashes, fever, ear infections, vomiting and more.

The county said young children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable.

More information is online at the Public Health Department Beach Water Quality website. There is also an Ocean Water Monitoring Program Hotline at (805) 788-3411.

The SLO County Sheriff’s Office said it resumed the search for the missing five-year-old boy swept away by floodwaters on Monday. The search has been on and off since then, but divers deployed again to the flooded Salinas River in Paso Robles to resume their search today.

The missing boy’s name is Kyle Dolan, who was in a vehicle that was swept away during heavy wind and rain. His mother was rescued from the vehicle in time.

The Sheriff’s Office said Dolan is four-feet-tall, has dirty-blonde hair and was last seen wearing a black puffer jacket with blue jeans.

The search includes an Underwater Search and Rescue Team, drone teams, air operations and more. Mutual aid resources from other agencies around the Central Coast Sacramento County.

Original post: January 10, 5p.m.

Evacuation orders and shelter-in-place are mostly lifting on the Central Coast.

Santa Barbara County has ended its evacuation and shelter-in-place orders for southern areas of the county including Montecito, Gaviota and parts of Santa Barbara.

However, Sheriff Bill Brown said at a 2p.m. press conference that there are still some exceptions and road closures, and that the storm is still a lingering threat to this area.

Officials said there are still more than 40 road closures in Santa Barbara County as of 2p.m.

State Route 154, Highway 101 northbound in Carpinteria, and US 101 northbound at Winchester in Goleta are still closed as of this afternoon, but Highway 101 southbound is open in Santa Barbara through Ventura.

In SLO County, safety officials said the situation has drastically improved from yesterday, though there is still widespread damage and lingering threats.

Residents of San Luis Obispo are no longer under a shelter-in-place order. The city says local businesses do not need floodgates, but that they should have them and similar precautions anyway.

The Paso Robles Police Department has lifted all evacuation orders and warnings throughout the city and has reopened the 13th Street bridge.

Residents in areas including the Navajo Avenue and Riverbank Lane areas were under mandatory evacuations yesterday and this morning, which are now lifted as of 11a.m.

Also in North SLO County, the Sheriff’s Office says it has resumed the search for a five-year-old boy missing after being swept away by floodwaters.

Miramar Beach in Montecito, Santa Barbara County.
Photo by Christina McDermott
Miramar Beach in Montecito, Santa Barbara County.

The department called off their divers searching the area yesterday after storm conditions made it too dangerous to continue.

The Sheriff’s Office has identified the missing boy as Kyle Dolan. He went missing yesterday after a storm swept away the vehicle he was in, though his mother was rescued in time.

Areas in South SLO County near the Arroyo Grande Channel are still under evacuation orders, and there are maps available here.

The Morro Bay Police Department also reports a 78-year-old man was found dead in a boat in Morro Bay today.

The department said the cause is still undetermined and under investigation.

Meanwhile Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Santa Barbara, Lucia Mar Unified School District and other public schools plan to reopen tomorrow.

Cal Poly compiled a list of emergency resources for students, faculty and staff here:

• ReadySLO - SLO County Emergency Response: prepareslo.org/en/storms.aspx

• SLO City Alerts - slocity.org/services/city-news-center

• SLO Transit Rider Alerts - slocity.org/government/department-directory/public-works/slo-transit/rider-alerts-news

• San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (RTA) -slorta.org

• Sandbag Distribution Locations - prepareslo.org

• SLO Food Bank - slofoodbank.org

• United Way of San Luis Obispo County - unitedwayslo.org/211slo

To find dispatch numbers, hotlines, warming centers, where to find sandbags and more, visit readyslo.org for SLO County, readysbc.org for Santa Barbara County or Monterey County’s emergency preparedness website.

For information on local highway conditions, visit CalTrans District 5’s website or Twitter.

Pacific Gas & Electric has an interactive map of outages in their service area, including the Central Coast.

San Luis Obispo County map of current emergencies

Santa Barbara County map of current emergencies

Monterey County map of current emergencies

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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