Storm soaking Santa Maria Valley

Minor flooding, heavy ag runoff from steady rain

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The powerful March storm continues to soak northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County with steady, occasionally heavy rain with more on the way.

The rain has been heavy at times Wednesday morning in Santa Maria and because much of the city is in a flood plain the water collects and pools very quickly and can cause street flooding.

It was a soggy, slick and slow morning commute Wednesday with the steady rain pooling water along city streets and intersections.

Some parking lots were hit harder than others with the rain creating small ponds in certain commercial areas.

Storm runoff from local farm fields has been heavy as well with flood control canals and trenches filled with the rainwater.

By mid-morning Wednesday there were heavier downpours filling rain gutters in residential areas.

Public works crews are keeping close watch on the situation looking for any drainage or flooding problems citywide.

Santa Barbara County officials are watching the Alamo Fire burn area where residents are under a "recommended evacuation order" with a strong chance of mud and debris flows as the storm settles over the area.

"We only had an inch on Friday and the creek came probably a little higher than half-way up with an inch of rain and that was over a two hour period", said Tepusquet Canyon resident Susan Butler who evacuated to a local hotel, "if they're talking four to six inches, that concerns us."

So far so good for Santa Maria's drainage and flood control systems but more rain and possible thunderstorms are in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday morning.

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