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Central Coast hit with second atmospheric river of the month

red cross shelter slo veterans hall
Gabriela Fernandez
The SLO Veterans Hall is serving as a Red Cross shelter for people affected by storms.

County emergency information websites:

San Luis Obispo County

Santa Barbara County

Monterey County

Update: Wednesday, 4p.m.

In light of this week's storms Congressman Salud Carbajal and Jimmy Panetta are calling on the Biden Administration to extend the date for Central Coast residents to apply for FEMA disaster aid past tomorrow.

FEMA aid was opened up to the Central Coast counties the January atmospheric river with March 16 as the deadline. However, Carbajal and Panetta are asking the federal government to extend that deadline, in light of the heavy storms that have happened since then— including this week.

Residents and businesses can apply for FEMA aid at until tomorrow. It's not clear if the deadline will be extended.

Update: 4p.m.

CalTrans District 5 said Highway 41 will remain closed overnight tonight in both directions from San Gabriel Road to Los Altos Road in Atascadero. The agency cited "slide activity from inclement weather."

The road closed around 2:00p.m. after downed trees, wires and other debris fell into the roadway.

Caltrans said it will send teams tomorrow to assess the damage and determine next steps.

Travelers can take Hwy. 46 or Hwy. 101 as an alternate route. Message and directional signs are in place.

Update: 1:20p.m.

SLO County has upgraded its evacuation warnings in Oceano to mandatory evacuation orders. Residents are directed to leave now and seek higher ground, according to the county.

The order is for Oceano residents south of the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee and near the Oceano Lagoon:

  • All areas south of the Arroyo Grande Creek Channel for one mile and west of Hwy 1
  • North and East of Strand Way & River Ave.
  • South of Pier Ave. to the ocean
  • East to the railroad tracks, along the tracks, back up to Pier Ave.

An interactive map of that area is available here. Below is a screenshot map of the affected areas.

Screenshot 2023-03-14 at 1.24.37 PM.png
SLO County
Oceano evacuation orders as of 1:20p.m. on Tuesday, March 14.

More information is available at Evacuation orders and warnings are still in effect in parts of Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties as well.

Original post: 10:30a.m.

The Central Coast is in the middle of the second atmospheric river in one month. The National Weather Service issued flood watches and wind advisories across Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties through tomorrow morning.

The NWS expects the rain to continue throughout the day until tomorrow morning.

In Santa Barbara County, areas along the Alisal, Cave and Thomas Fire burn scars are under an evacuation order. Residents in the area are being asked to leave now in case roads become impassable due to the storm.

Residents can check for detail information of the affected areas.

In San Luis Obispo County, areas of Oceano, Cayucos, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Morro Bay and Paso Robles are under evacuation warnings. But, many of those could be updated to orders throughout the day. Officials urge people in vulnerable areas to pay attention to alerts so they know if or when that happens.

There are interactive maps of storm updates, local evacuation warnings and orders at

In Monterey County there are evacuation warnings for areas along the Salinas River, and the community of Pajaro where a levee broke and caused major flooding last week.

Rachel Dion is the Emergency Services Coordinator for San Luis Obispo County. She said SLO County residents can find emergency shelter at the SLO Veterans Hall.

“Any resident who has been affected by the storms and needs to stay in the shelter is welcome, as well as their pets. If anyone needs transportation assistance and getting to the shelter, they can call our phone assistance center. We will coordinate transportation to pick them up and take them there.”

Dion said while there are several areas in the county under evacuation warnings, the county’s main priority right now is the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee in Oceano.

"From the county standpoint, the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee down in Oceano is kind of our biggest concern area for this particular storm. The channel is a lot more full going into the storm than we've seen previously. So that's kind of the area that we're really really watching at this time," she said.

Dion said the county is coordinating with partner agencies to prevent heavy impact across surrounding communities.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 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.
Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.
Amanda Wernik is a reporter and substitute announcer at KCBX. She graduated from Cal Poly with a BS in Journalism. During her time at Cal Poly, she worked as a news anchor for KCPR Radio and as an intern for the CJ Silas Show on ESPN Radio. Amanda enjoys surfing, reading, playing with her dog, traveling, and fronting her own rock band, Kiwi Kannibal.
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