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Encinitas businesses and homes hit hard by Monday's flash flooding

Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 23, 2024

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — Dozens of businesses and homes in Leucadia are dealing with flooding damage from Monday's storms.

Emma Storm Sabo is used to getting her hands dirty creating ceramics at the Mudd House, but Monday morning, she and her team found themselves trying to save their beloved artwork from a rush of rising flood waters.

"We were in the middle of a pottery class with four women that were sitting at the wheel enjoying their time, and then all of a sudden, water just started coming in all four walls," Sabo said.

Sabo and employees of the Mudd House in Leucadia used buckets to try to get the water out, but there are still thousands of dollars in damage.

"Pretty much everything we use here is electrical. All of our wheels are electric. We have pedals that sit on the floor. Unfortunately, our most expensive wheel got submerged," said Sabo.

This is the second time in just over a year Sabo's business has flooded. A storm on New Year's Eve of 2022 also flooded the area of Europa Street and North Coast Highway 101.

"It's just incredibly infuriating to have to go through this again within a year, and all of the neighbors in the alleyway everyone flooded," Sabo said.

People who live and work in the area have been dealing with flooding for decades.

Encinitas Mayor Tony Kranz said the issue is complex and costly.

"The legacy stormwater system that the city inherited from the county was inadequate, and we have over the years have tried to make improvements to it," said Mayor Kranz.

The mayor said the city staged multiple pumps in the flood-prone area, but the water was too much.

"There was no question that there was a vigorous attempt by our public works team to do something about the storm waters, but it kept rising faster than the pumps could work," Kranz said.

Kranz said a four million dollar federal grant would pay for a new stormwater mainline, which won't solve the problem but would help.

"That's the system that is going to make improvements to the point where we probably don't need to use pumps, but honestly, the amount of water that came down yesterday overwhelms even a system of the size that we designed," Kranz said. "It's not going to handle 100-year storms, and we know that, but the cost to do something that would handle the bigger storms is just not a good use of money."

Sabo is thankful for the community support and the people who have donated to her GoFundMe.

"Being in Leucadia is just really special. It's a very artistic community in general, and everyone is here for each other," Sabo said.