Mudslides in Corralitos cause evacuations

October 13, 2009 7:20:24 PM PDT
The areas hit hardest by the storm are some of the same ones hit by fire over the summer. The residents of roughly 60 homes were ordered to evacuate Tuesday morning, near Davenport, in Santa Cruz County.

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On Tuesday evening, there was a landslide into a home on Eureka Canyon Road in Corralitos. There is a mandatory evacuation order for 80 homes on that road. This second evacuation order is separate from the one that was ordered Tuesday morning on Swanton Road in Davenport.

Filling sandbags is one way many people are dealing with the storm in Santa Cruz County. People have gathered their sandbags to divert runoff and are using backup generators to keep the power going.

"We're on generator power now on our main building, on our food pantry building our generator went out and one of the volunteers is going home to get a generator to get that operating," said Annette Marcum from Valley Churches United.

Power outages closed three schools in San Lorenzo Valley and many others know they could be next if conditions worsen.

"If the power goes out or if we had more flooding or if there's a tree down and a lot of people couldn't get here," said Stephanie Siddens from Bonny Doon Elementary.

A big concern is mudslides. One mudslide and tree blocked one on Empire Grade Road and the threat of mudslides closed Swanton Road near Davenport.

A reverse 911 system alerted 65 families of a mandatory evacuation order. The Lockheed fire in August left the hillsides black and baron.

"The hillsides are all denuded. The vegetation has been removed, the water is going to run down quickly, it is going to take debris with it," said Cal Fire Capt. Bill Tomkovic.

At Valley Churches United in Ben Lomond 500 sandbags were handed out before noon, with volunteers to working to fill even more.

"We got a call at 9 a.m. this morning 'Can you guys come down here and help us?' and we've been down here for the last three hours," said volunteer Autumn Bushard.

J.V. Rudnick is also doing his part. A network of amateur radio operators is keeping an eye on potential trouble spots.

"We're continuously providing information about stream levels, power outages, anything of that nature, that's part of this weather storm here," said Rudnick.

Fire crews in the county are on the move clearing drains and responding to down power lines and falling trees.

"We're expecting to stay pretty busy all the way through tomorrow morning. In fact, we have a dozen firefighters that are on duty at the moment and we're just going out in separate calls, trying to handle them all," said Felton Fire Capt. Scott Bingham.

The Red Cross has set up a center for the evacuees of the Eureka Canyon Road mudslide. That center is at the Corralitos Community Center.

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