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Oceano community feeling impacts of latest downpour, strong winds

Posted at 5:20 PM, Mar 21, 2023

Monday night, people living near the Arroyo Grande Creek in Oceano were advised that they may have to leave home due to the potential impacts of heavy winds and rain.

Tuesday morning, everyone from tree maintenance companies to people living in the evacuation zone to those vacationing in Oceano were all feeling the impacts of this latest storm.

“I lived in Hawaii a few years for the military, and I think we have gotten more rain here than we did in Hawaii,” said Andy Anderson, who moved to Oceano a little less than a year ago.

“I am keeping an eye on the weather, seeing when the rain is coming and going so we can have an idea of when to leave because I don’t want to be on the road,” added Chelsea Parmley, who was visiting Oceano from Bakersfield and walking her dog near the Oceano Lagoon before the rain started trickling in Tuesday morning.

Just steps away, crews with Paradise Tree Service responded to one of many calls for downed branches in the neighborhood.

“What has been happening in the past three months, especially with the heavy rainfall, the ground is saturated, trees are overgrowing, lack of maintenance,” said sales manager, Gil Martinez. “So basically, we have been responding to a lot of calls on that. And of course, the trees have been stressed from the drought we have been going through the past 10-15 years. The root systems are just not there like they normally would be.”

Martinez says his company has crews patrolling areas from San Luis Obispo down to Santa Ynez, adding that the strong winds from this storm system escalate the potential for even more hazardous conditions.

“The wind is actually what is uprooting the trees. When the trees have too much of a sail, of course, that is when they start to topple over,” he added.

But despite the evacuation warning in place for many Oceano neighbors, some say they are hesitant to pack up and leave home.

“You got the evacuation notices, and I would say about 20% of the people in my mobile home park did, but I just thought, I have got another three inches before it starts ruining my home,” Andy Anderson told KSBY.

Parmley meanwhile, who is a frequent visitor to the Central Coast, says this latest trip of hers to Oceano has been a big change from what she has been used to.

“It has never been like this before. We were talking about how dry it was, and now everything is wet. You can see the clay, and the rocks, everything coming down. It is different,” Parmley said.

Officials with the County of San Luis Obispo Office of Emergency Services say they understand the evacuation fatigue that may be felt by those who have been repeatedly issued orders and warnings to leave home.

They say those advisories are not to be taken lightly, and encourage anyone impacted to take the proper steps to be safe.

For more information on the evacuation warning or emergency information from the county, click here.