Flooding Damage pebble beach

Flooding damage and debris on 17-Mile Drive at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, seen during a moment of afternoon sunshine on Thursday, Jan. 5.

Monterey County officials say they are taking an “all hands on deck” approach to shepherding the region through the ongoing storm that has swept the region this week.

Speaking at a press conference in Carmel on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 5, County Supervisor Mary Adams said local and state authorities including the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and Cal Fire have been cooperating to navigate the fallout from the storm system—which has been described as both a “bomb cyclone” and an “atmospheric river,” but which Adams herself dubbed “stormageddon.”

“We have a unified command working on this storm,” Adams said. While acknowledging that a storm of this intensity “is an uncommon situation for us,” she stressed that authorities have “been prepared for a while” to deal with flooding, property damage and evacuations resulting from the storm.

Adams was joined at the press conference by Monterey County Sheriff Tina Nieto, Cypress Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Tom Bolyard and Monterey County Director of Public Works, Facilities and Parks Randell Ishii. Nieto noted that the region currently has one outstanding evacuation order, in the neighborhood of Yankee Point south of Carmel, and urged residents leaving areas affected by the storm to do so quickly and safely.

“We don’t know how much water will rise in these areas,” Nieto said. Bolyard echoed that sentiment, noting that the fire department had already assisted with evacuations near Carmel River Lagoon on Thursday morning after storm swells of 35 to 50 feet had impacted surrounding neighborhoods. Adams noted that an evacuation point has been set up at Carmel Valley Library, with an emergency shelter also set up at Carmel Middle School.

With more high tides incoming on Thursday evening, Bolyard said officials are monitoring water levels and have “rescue teams ready”—including qualified rescue swimmers, jet skis and high-water rescue vehicles provided by the National Guard.

Ishii added that the city has “staffed up road crews,” including with supplemental contractors, to aid with any issues that may arise on county roads and highways—including mudslide issues like one on Thursday that affected Carmel Valley Road between Via Los Tulares and San Clemente Road.

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