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Student seriously injured in ‘microburst’ storm in Santa Barbara

Alyssa Nuno, a Dos Pueblos High School student, is being treated at a Los Angeles hospital for serious injuries she received Sunday in the microburst storm that slammed the Santa Barbara waterfront.
Alyssa Nuno, a Dos Pueblos High School student, is being treated at a Los Angeles hospital for serious injuries she received Sunday in the microburst storm that slammed the Santa Barbara waterfront.

A Dos Pueblos High School student is being treated at a Los Angeles hospital for serious injuries she received Sunday in the “microburst” storm that hit the Santa Barbara waterfront.

Alyssa Nuno was on West Beach with family members when winds clocked at 80 mph began tossing around kayaks, boats and other items on the beach, according to Otis Jones, who is engaged to Nuno’s cousin.

As the winds gained intensity, Nuno ran toward an area where kayaks, outriggers and other small boats are usually stored near Sea Landing, Jones said.

“I saw Alyssa run, I think she just got scared,” Jones told Noozhawk. “After the winds died down, her mom and dad were screaming and yelling, ‘Where is she?’ 

Nuno was found underneath one of the boats, Jones said, and at first did not appear to be seriously injured.

People on the beach attempted to call 911, Jones said, but many of their cell phones were not working.

A city lifeguard was summoned and responded to the scene, Jones said.

Nuno was taken by AMR ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and later airlifted to Children's Hospital in Los Angeles.

She already has undergone one surgery for her injuries, Jones said, and is expected to have an additional surgery Thursday.

According to the family, she suffered head trauma and broken bones during the storm.

Nuno is a junior at Dos Pueblos and previously attended Notre Dame School in Santa Barbara.

Series of storms that hit areas of Santa Barbara County hard on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, brings mostly gentle rain to San Luis Obispo. Other areas of SLO County saw downpours.

A posting on the Notre Dame School’s Facebook page asks people to “please keep the Nuno family in your prayers!”

A GoFundMe account, with a goal of $10,000, has set up to assist Alyssa and her family with medical and other expenses. As of early evening Tuesday, $6,060 had been raised.

Alyssa is a member of the Dos Pueblos lacrosse team and Engineering Academy, Principal Bill Woodard said.

“I talked to her mom this morning, I called her down in L.A. at the hospital, and she shared that Alyssa has some severe injuries but she’s being taken care of there,” Woodard said.

The school community is rallying around the family, he said.

“She is well-liked here. She is a popular kid with both staff and students and it's a great family, and we're trying to do the best we can to support them,” he said.

Girls lacrosse coach Samantha Limkeman is collecting cards, including one signed by the team, which will be dropped off at the hospital this weekend.

City fire officials previously had said there were no serious injuries from the microburst, which caused downed trees and power lines, flooding and other damage in the Funk Zone and waterfront areas.

Lee Waldron, operations division chief for the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, told Noozhawk his crews were not dispatched to the scene, and he just learned of the injury Tuesday.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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