Santa Cruz Mountains battered by storm

February 17, 2009 12:25:46 AM PST
As always when heavy storms hit the Bay Area, the Santa Cruz Mountains take the brunt of the rain and high winds.

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Whatever the vantage point, it is clear a ball of roots should be in the ground and electrical wires off the ground. The upside down picture is courtesy of high winds in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

"I thought it was the lightening; It was just one big flash, one big boom, I thought maybe a transformer went off," resident Melinda Blaza said.

Power is out to 138 customers on Fairmount Drive in Boulder Creek. A tree horizontal with the road also means about that many homeowners cannot get in or out, except on foot.

"I got in my truck, wires down in the road, came around corner and that's it," stranded resident Hutch Collier said.

Mike Davitt is facing another hazard. He is trying to divert runoff that is getting too close for comfort.

"The water is coming off the highway basically under the house, so I'm bagging the highway, about 24 bags total," Davitt said.

What many people are facing is the mighty San Lorenzo River, which is not yet a flood threat, but is a constant threat, considering almost six inches of rain fell overnight in Ben Lomond.

"It's pretty amazing watching the force of nature at work watching the water come down the river," photographer James Bong said.

What is photo worthy to Bong is a concern for others. Valley Churches United Missions opened its disaster center Monday morning, offering sandbags and more.

"What's happening now is that these new storms are coming in it's going to loosen that dirt and we're going to be worried about mudslides; that's a biggie up here," Annette Marcum of the Valley Churches United Missions said.

So far there have been no mudslides to speak of, but downed trees and power outages are keeping PG&E crews busy.

"We're just trying to get it done as fast as we can, get people's power back on and work to make sure it's done safe and everything works out for everyone else too," PG&E spokesperson Thomas Bray said.

After a dry winter Blaza welcomes the rain, but until the storm passes she and her animals are taking cover at a friend's home.

It's scary but I am used to it; I've been here for almost 20 years," Blaza said.

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