Storms force evacuations, shutdowns in Central Coast communities

The heavy rainfall over the last week, which is not expected to let up any time soon, is forcing tens of thousands of Californians to flee their homes.

Intense storms are forcing evacuations and shutdowns along the California coast as many communities confront damage and power outages caused by heavy rainfall. 

Major highways, beaches and state parks are closed for the time being while the death toll in the Golden State from the harsh weather continues to rise. 

The big picture: An evacuation order for the entire enclave of Montecito and the surrounding areas was enacted Monday, forcing thousands of people out of their Southern California homes. 

  • Highway 101 was shuttered in various places in neighboring Santa Barbara and up the central coast in San Luis Obispo County and in the Monterey Bay area. 
  • Parts of Santa Cruz County also faced evacuation orders as rainfall caused various rivers and creeks to flood and threaten homes. 

What we’re watching: The high tide along the central coast has caused state officials to close down Pismo Beach and the popular Oceano Dunes. 

  • Camping reservations at Oceano Dunes have been canceled through Tuesday. 

By the numbers: More than eight inches of rain fell over 12 hours in Montecito, according to the National Weather Service, with more on the way. 

  • Around 10,000 people are affected by the evacuation orders in Montecito, and over 30,000 people are asked to leave their homes in the Santa Cruz area. 
  • State officials said the death toll from the storms climbed from 12 to 14 on Monday. 

What they’re saying: The decision to evacuate Montecito was “based on the continuing high rate of rainfall with no indication that that is going to change before nightfall,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told the Associated Press. 

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