The atmospheric river is rough on ocean areas — just look at the Capitola Wharf crashed in half by waves as large as 35 feet as this storm pummels coastal areas of Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties.
Beachfront properties are great, but not in this weather. As KRON4 reports, waves as large as 35 feet have been ravaging coastal towns in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties, and as seen below, the Capitola Wharf was smashed in half by the enormous, storm-surge waves.
The storm has caused significant damage throughout the county and along the coast, including heavy damage to piers in Capitola and Seacliff. High tide and large surf is a dangerous combination - avoid the coast. pic.twitter.com/XiyuJBQUFB— Santa Cruz County (@sccounty) January 5, 2023
“A 40-foot chunk of the historic Capitola Wharf was washed away by the strong surf,” according to the Bay Area News Group. That wharf is 165 years old, though has been rebuilt before after major storm damage suffered in 1955 and 1982.
Capitola Beach and Pier are under siege with tide and surf still rising. pic.twitter.com/89b1CAGfg6— Semi-Pro Storm Chaser (@soulfocussports) January 5, 2023
And there may be at least one fatality from the storm in Santa Cruz. “A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was seen circling over the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz Wednesday night,” according to KRON4. “Witnesses heard a man screaming for help after he was apparently swept away in the flood-swollen river. It’s unclear if the man survived.”
BREAKING - The iconic cement ship in Santa Cruz County broke away this morning from the pier at Seacliff State Beach. Waves are HUGE, between 25-35 feet, according to Surfline. Largest swell of the winter. 🌊 The ship keeps getting hammered. #AtmosphericRiver @kron4news pic.twitter.com/RY0bfNbDOw— Amy Larson (@AmyLarson25) January 5, 2023
The damage seen above is of an entirely different pier, the SS Palo Alto at Seacliff Beach, which was formerly a ship. “The iconic concrete SS Palo Alto, also known as the ‘cement ship,’ broke away from the pier at Seacliff State Beach,” KRON4 reports.
🚨 Numerous closures 🚧 in place today, due to high tidal surge. Here’s a view w/ @CapitolaPolice at the Stockton Ave bridge over Soquel Creek. Please exercise extreme caution near the ocean 🌊 today. pic.twitter.com/og5tFdAGhs— CHP Santa Cruz (@CHPscrz) January 5, 2023
In Capitola, police have entirely closed the town’s main tourist attraction of Capitola Village as waves keep crashing down, and retail storefronts and restaurants are flooded. Thursday morning, the Bay Area News Group asked Capitola Police Captain Sarah Ryan to describe the extent of the damage. She could not.
“It’s still happening,” Ryan told the News Group.
Related: Two Deaths Attributed to Storm Including Sonoma Toddler; 70,000 Still Without Power [SFist]
Image: @sccounty via Twitter