Many roads still closed in Santa Cruz Mountains

October 14, 2009 6:54:26 PM PDT
There are some evacuations still in effect in the Santa Cruz Mountains, after Tuesday's heavy storm. It caused big problems like mudslides and a main road split in two sections in the Eureka Canyon Area near Corralitos. One man wound up rescuing his neighbor.

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The evacuation order for Eureka Canyon Road could be lifted as early as Thursday morning, but it will remain in effect for a second night.

Despite the massive cleanup activity, signs of destruction on Eureka Canyon Road are everywhere. Part of a home and two cars were literally buried during the height of the storm last night.

"My neighbor came over and yelled there had been a slide at her house. We helped her get a few essential items out of there and then they went down town and stayed in a motel until things are safe," said neighbor Ted Mulder.

It's understandable that some people on Eureka Canyon Road are not feeling especially safe, since the road is impassable. Water gushing off the mountain has created an impressive roadblock at one point and there is a debris slide a little south of that.

"1800 feet is where my dirt road is that most of this came off of and that's 600 feet of elevation. That the water gets quite accelerated coming down this hillside, and it takes out everything, including these big rocks," said homeowner Larry Burk.

In addition to trapping 12 homeowners, Jimmy Bonneman had to abandon his car last night and hike out.

"Basically, I was afraid this hill was going to push my truck off the hill," said Bonneman.

Public works crews were out in force Wednesday clearing some sections of the road, but the slide will have to wait until geologists can evaluate the situation.

"Just making notes of what we see, what damage has been done, and how the road systems are looking," said Chad McCracken from CAL FIRE.

The country's mandatory evacuation order for some 50 homes is still in effect, but largely ignored.

"We stayed here last night, they asked us to leave, but we stayed. We know the one house got hit with the mudslide," said resident Alan Christensen.

Even on the long, shared, dirt road where the slide buried a house, people don't leave their homes easily.

"I'm not sure if we're going to stay tonight or not. We're going to watch and see what happens across the road from our house and evaluate it tonight," said resident Tami Breuninger.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 32 road closures in Santa Cruz County. Some of those will be open in a matter of days, where the mudslide happened, it could take weeks to clear that road.

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