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Quality of Life

Catching up with Jan. 22 flood victims, two months later

The weather forecast predicted showers, possibly heavy with thunderstorms, but Jan. 22 turned out to be the wettest January day in San Diego history.

Two months later the memories are still traumatic for former Southcrest resident Jessica Calix.

“We’re all experiencing typical symptoms of PTSD and anxiety. Every time there’s a storm, people are talking about it nonstop and Whatsapping about it because we’re all terrified of another flood," she said.


Calix stood outside of her former apartment on Beta Street. This is the first time she's been back to the neighborhood since last month.

“It’s hard coming down here because we’re still grieving. It’s a huge loss," Calix lamented.

In the neighborhood, signs of progress are all around: workers clearing debris, the interiors of houses and apartments being cleaned and put back together.

On Mission Gorge Road in Mission Valley, several businesses were flooded. At Native Poppy, co-owner Natalie Gill said the recovery process has revealed good things and other things that are not so good.

“The drywall got replaced a couple of days ago, so we’re getting this place to feel kind of normal again. Every time it rains though, we’re all kind of freaked out still," Gill said.


Gill and her team were able to get back into the warehouse portion of the business and start working just a couple of weeks after the storm.

But they have not reopened the gift shop in front and Gill said she probably won’t reopen it. For her, the big negatives have to do with help recovering.

“With the grants the city of San Diego was giving out for disaster relief, we didn’t qualify because we have more than 12 employees," she said. "And then with FEMA we didn’t qualify because it wasn’t a private residence ... our only option was to take out an SBA loan with 4% interest, but we already have an SBA loan from COVID."

And Gill said the last thing she needs now is more debt.

As for the positives, “Our community, our customers have this opportunity to show us how much we mean to them," Gill said. "They come out, they support us, they ask how they can help."

“I’m definitely very hopeful to see so much community support ... it hasn’t stopped. It has been consistent, it has been here."
Jessica Calix, former Southcrest resident impacted by Jan. 22 storm

Calix is also looking forward to more community support.

“I’m definitely very hopeful to see so much community support ... it hasn’t stopped. It has been consistent, it has been here," Calix said.

But Calix also said navigating the system to get help is challenging.

In a statement, a FEMA official said the agency is still helping flood victims.

“We still have teams in the field who are going door to door ...  And we still have the disaster recovery centers open seven days a week and they are open from 10 in the morning to 7 in the evening to accommodate people who are working," said FEMA spokesperson Maria Padron.

Those FEMA centers, one at the Mountain View Community Center and the other at the Spring Valley library, will be open through April 19.