Capitola starts cleaning up after floods


Now, the city declares a state of emergency after fast-moving storm waters flood the downtown area. That should help the long process in asking for state emergency assistance money. Many businesses had to close their doors on Sunday because there is such a major clean-up effort underway.

In Tom Austen's family business -- a Thomas Kinkade gallery and gift shop of 30 years -- paintings were destroyed and what used to be in the storage room floated with the floodwaters into the showroom. What could be salvaged, sits drying on the sidewalk outside.

"The water came in and the boxes from the warehouse just floated in here it was like a lake in here," said Austen.

Austen thinks his loss could be in the millions and he's not alone. Thursday's rain overwhelmed a drainage pipe that runs underneath the Pacific Cove Mobile Home Park. Two days later, following Saturday's storm, most of Capitola village was underwater. It was a one-two punch and now the cleanup begins.

"This is day two, we are tearing out the carpets right now trying to dry everything off. We'll probably be working on this for a week or so," said Teal Forrest from Hot Feet shoe store.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Toni Castro's own office is underwater, but she was one of many volunteers who came to help.

"I just walked down there with my gloves and I'm just helping whoever I can," said Castro.

The Capitola City Council chambers were packed for an emergency meeting to declare a local disaster. That starts the process for residents and merchants to receive government assistance; many say they won't survive without it.

"We are essentially out of business. We're closing our doors and we're moving out stuff today and I can tell you with almost 100 percent certainty that we will not return to the city of Capitola," said business owner Scott Stein.

The waters were so strong, there's now a gaping hole at the edge of one backyard residents say they are used to living with floods, but not like this.

"Somebody should be liable, yeah, because all these people have been flooded two days in a row and all this damage could have been preventable, if they would have took care of their problem up there.," said Capitola resident Mike Pirnik.

The mobile home park remains evacuated as of early Sunday evening. The city is working around the clock to fix a broken pipeline. They hope to get it repaired before it starts raining again.

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