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Oceano residents put on alert as flood threat returns

Posted at 9:04 PM, Mar 08, 2023

Another storm is making its way to the Central Coast and emergency officials in San Luis Obispo County are closely monitoring it.

Low-lying areas of Oceano have been impacted by evacuation warnings three times this year and with another storm fast approaching, this could soon happen again.

People who live in flood-prone areas of Oceano are being put on alert as the possibility of flooding returns.

“We get the alerts on the phone, and I think the last storm we had three alerts that said, ‘ocean lagoon is flooding, here’s an evacuation warning,’” said Oceano Resident Chris Costello.

Officials with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services say the Arroyo Grande Creek could spill over the south side of the levee again if it reaches a flood stage of 28 feet.

“We already have significant ground saturation so, there is a very strong possibility that we will hit flood stage not just in the Arroyo Grande Creek, but many other creeks throughout our community,” said Rachel Dion, Emergency Services Coordinator for San Luis Obispo County.

A catastrophic levee breach in January flooded farm fields and homes on the south side of the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee, prompting mandatory evacuation orders.

More populated areas on the north side of the levee have avoided severe flood damage and have only been under an evacuation warning so far.

“So, we have eyes on the levee 100% of the time,” said Dion.

Public works crews have been working to repair and reinforce the Arroyo Grande Creek Levee.

“They have added rock, they repaired the breach that happened in the January storms,” explained Dion.

Another area of concern is the Oceano Lagoon which could overflow and spill into surrounding neighborhoods.

“The last one was pretty bad, but they’ve actually done quite a bit of work down here by the lagoon. That’s where we would get most of the flooding,” said Costello.

emergency officials hope that residents stay vigilant and prepare for the next round of rain.

“We hope there’s not fatigue but we have warned them,” said Dion. “As we see more storms throughout this winter season, you could be ordered to evacuate again.”

Public works crews are on standby 24/7 ahead of the incoming storm.