Crews face mud, flash flooding in storm cleanup

Flooding in Capitola (Submitted by Michael Lee)
March 26, 2011 7:16:17 PM PDT
Downtown Capitola was inundated with a wall of water Saturday morning. Two to three feet of muddy, dirty - likely contaminated water rushed into the city. Crews have made a lot of head way - but it's still a muddy mess.

The damage spreads from Pacific Cove Mobile Home Park to Capitola Village. Officials say heavy rain and flash flooding are to blame for the wall of water. It happened as crews were repairing a massive storm drain that burst in the same area Thursday. As of Friday, it and the sink hole it caused - were drying out.

"It's a step backwards. We were pretty surprised. The National Weather Service did give the possibility of heavy rain, and we got it again, but with the soil being so saturated after last week, it didn't take much for a torrent of water to come down the hill," said Derek Johnson with the City of Capitola.

And straight into businesses:

"There was a river running through my building - so it's pretty sad," said Jeri Anderson of Amazing Day Spa.

The disappointment is now on display. People came from all over just to see what happened to downtown Capitola. Police finally forced people off Capitola Avenue - so the clean up could begin. But then police found another problem - a gas leak.

"This month alone we have been asked to evacuated at least three times, with tsunami warning, and the two flood warnings and now the gas leak, it's just ongoing," said evacuated resident Rick White.

Health inspectors said the gas issue has been resolved. Capitola Avenue is closed to drivers, but is open to pedestrians. Still, officers really want people to stay away.

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