Bay Area braces for season's first big storm

October 13, 2009 5:38:25 AM PDT
The area that is expected to be the hardest hit during the storm is the Santa Cruz Mountains. On Summit Road people made lots of preparations for the upcoming storm, since between four to six inches are expected to fall quickly.

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The Lockheed fire was the biggest fire in Santa Cruz County since 1949. The burned areas, coupled with the stormy forecast, could create some big problems for residents.

The Lockheed fire burned 7,800 acres in mid August and now the hills around Davenport are black, baron, and have the makings of a debris flow that could be triggered by heavy rain.

"It's going to hit those hills and wash all that ash and burned material that burned and fell off the trees, the branches, the whole trees, and everything is going to come down the hill and clog the creeks," says Cal Fire Capt. Bill Tomkovic.

The biggest concern is about 30 homes that lie in the path of all those potential mud flows. The Davenport home of Wallace "J" Nichols is one of them. His family evacuated once for the fire and are now ready to flee again.

"We're moving all the things inside that we don't want to get wet or have washed away and we're packing some bags and we're going to go to some higher ground and just wait it out," says Nichols.

Throughout Santa Cruz County, there are sandbag stations and given the forecast, most locals simply expect the incoming storm to knock out power and close roads.

"An inch every day would be good, but seven inches at once won't be the best case scenario," says Santa Cruz resident John Ekizian.

For many mountain residents, there is only one road in and only one road out, so mudslides or toppled trees can quickly trap families, which is why many prepare with generators and extra food.

Nichols' family feels fortunate they escaped one disaster with the Lockheed fire and won't be taking any changes if the scared earth starts moving in their direction.

"Nothing is worth life and limb. You get your family, you get your pets, you get your photographs and you go and you hope for the best," says Davenport resident Joshua Hoy.

The Lockheed fire did create an unprecedented landscape so it is difficult for anyone to tell exactly what kind of damage this storm will bring. FULL STORM COVERAGE:

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