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Coastal community of Pescadero tested with repeated storms, flooding

Pescadero hit by flooding again in latest atmospheric river storm
Pescadero hit by flooding again in latest atmospheric river storm 02:58

PESCADERO – The tiny San Mateo coastal community of Pescadero has been one of the spots hit hardest by the series of storms. On Saturday night, they were flooded again.

Pescadero Marsh is where all the water running down from the mountains drains into the sea. In between is the town of Pescadero itself. 

For the last few weeks, living in the small community of several hundred residents has been quite an adventure.

Approaching the town, there is a small, flooded area blocking one lane of Pesacadero Creek Road.

At some times of the day, it doesn't appear to be very troublesome. Sergio Gluschanko, who lives on the street, said it looks very different when the nearby ocean is at high tide, pushing the water back to the town.

Flooding in the small San Mateo coastal town of Pescadero during a series of storms in early 2023. CBS

"So, when the tide goes up, all this water that is supposed to go into the marsh, just stayed here," he said. "And it starts can see the creek behind all these homes."

Videos from last week show the field behind his house as a raging river.

At times, the road on both sides of his home has been blocked, trapping him in. With power poles beginning to lean one way or another, Gluschanko and his wife have gone without electricity for as long as seven days.

He says it's something people in Pescasdero are getting used to.

"We are the forgotten people here. We just don't get power," he said. "The county does what they can, but always short on resources to do it."

On Sunday afternoon, the main street in town looked remarkably untouched, and Pescadero Creek was flowing normally under the bridge.

Eric Hamor owns the house bordering the swollen creek and he said, while there's been flooding before, never this frequently.

"Three times in a row: New Year's Eve, the 9th, and last night. Three different times," he told KPIX on Sunday.  "The worst one was New Year's Eve because nobody was ready. And there was a logjam at the bridge."

That logjam happened when the first storm brought full sized trees down from the CZU wildfire burn scar. That backed the water up onto Hamor's property, carving off about 20 feet of his land.

He has a video of Saturday's flooding as the creek rose 20 feet, pushing six feet up against his family's rustic, 100-year-old cabin—saved only by the wall of plastic and sandbags that line the entire length of his property.

"It felt like we were on Noah's Ark for a minute," said Hamor. "We didn't sleep in it, we slept in the camper next door, just to make sure. Because we were a little concerned about it being unstable."

Hamor said he is grateful the county has worked to clear the creek of obstructions wherever possible.  That's because anything blocking the water's path to the sea only makes the problem worse.

As for Gruschanko? Despite everything he's been through in the last couple of weeks, he said he and his wife aren't going anywhere.

"That's the price you pay for living in paradise," he said. "It isn't convenient, obviously. But it is indeed a place that we like and we're staying. So, water's not going to kick us out of here."

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