Heavy rain topples large tree, destroys 2 RVs

Heavy rain topples large tree, destroys 2 RVs
February 18, 2011 12:03:12 AM PST
In Santa Cruz County, a crashing tree crushed two RVs. It was not the vacation Robert Margarite, a Ceres resident, and his family expected while at New Brighton State Beach. Thursday morning's heavy storms caused a massive pine tree to topple over and destroy both their RV and their neighbors' RV.

Margarite said it was "just raining, we were packing up to leave and she was inside doing dishes and luckily she walked forward and it came down on top of us."

Everyone made it out safely, but as a precaution park rangers took some drastic measures. They shut down and evacuated the entire RV park. Campers were forced to find last minute spots elsewhere. Many drove to Aptos and rented space at Sea Cliff State Beach instead.

Still, the uprooted campers could face yet another problem at Sea Cliff State Beach -- strong waves. With more rain and wind ahead, rangers are keeping a close eye on water levels. If the waves breach the wall, the park will also shut down.

Crews are standing by in Santa Cruz County overnight just in case drivers get into trouble. Caltrans has trucks parked all along Highway 17 and the CHP did not call in extra officers, but they are definitely patrolling the corridor regularly.

Around the Bay Area

The winter weather that hit the Bay Area Thursday, sent surging waves onto the Embarcadero in San Francisco, created flooding along the Great Highway, thunder and lightning in the North Bay, and even some snow in the South Bay.

The storm hit the North Bay first, bringing heavy rain. A section of Shoreline Highway in the town of Tomales looked more like a river than a road. Traffic was restricted to one lane. Vehicles were partly submerged as drivers made their way through the flood water.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning earlier in the day for Willow Brook Creek in Petaluma. The creek ran high, but officials say it was never a threat.

The wild weather also dropped a lot of snow where people aren't used to seeing it, or driving in it. The commute was a snowy one for drivers along the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 35 at the border of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

In the East Bay, a huge eucalyptus tree fell over at the westbound entrance ramp from Highway 4 to westbound Highway 80. The tree hit a car and then several other cars crashed trying to swerve around it. Six cars were damaged and nobody was seriously injured. Firefighters and CHP officers used chainsaws to break down the tree and were able to get it off the road. The crash was cleared by about 6:30 a.m.

In another incident, a power line came down at about 8:45 a.m. in Vallejo which knocked out power for about an hour to about 2,700 customers. The heavy rain caused thousands of power outages throughout the Bay Area, but most have since been restored.

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