The Storm Of January ’23

The year 2023 has begun with an atmospheric river slamming the California coast which lead to flooding, mudslides, structural damages, injury, and loss of life. In between these torrents I bicycled around the Santa Cruz area to see the aftermaths. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and there are more storms on the way as well as another flood advisory.

Picture of Capitola Village taken on Friday January 6th after first storm, the Esplanade was closed off to all access.
What’s left of Aptos Wharf at Seacliff State Beach. The nearly sunken ship past the wharf is the SS Palo Alto, which was first docked at the end of the wharf in 1930. Back in the ’70s one could walk to the very end of the ship, then over the years access was gradually restricted, now it’s almost gone.
A large pile of wood that had washed up onto the beach.
A washed out asphalt walkway and permanently damaged picnic area.
Taken on Sunday January 8 between storms, a closed off section of West Cliff Dr in Santa Cruz where high waves caused more erosion. There’s now talk of West Cliff Dr into a one lade road.
Closer view of the West Cliff Dr erosion damage.
Taken Monday January 9th, the inundated San Lorenzo River mouth and Boardwalk Beach.
Seabright Beach, other side of the San Lorenzo River, people picking up the washed up wood and making small structures.
Someone must have left in a hurry as the waves rushed in and left behind their cooler.
Looking east along the Seabright Beach shoreline toward the jetty.
Had to run backwards quick after taking this picture to avoid the surf.

As I write this there’s another storm on the way in the forecast. These more powerful storms as well as hotter, drier summers are becoming the norm in California as increased carbon in the atmosphere continues to alter the climate. Going to be to be some rough weather ahead.

©️2023 Robert Kirkendall


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