Strong winds whip through Santa Cruz Mtns.

January 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, residents cope with pounding rain and wind gusts upward of 40 miles per hour.

Felton resident, Bruce argyle, was driving on Highway 9 in Ben Lomand when a huge tree came crashing down.

"It was coming right at me and I slammed on my breaks, the tree went in front of me, the pole went behind me and the wire went on top of me and I jumped out of the truck as fast as a could," says Argyle.

The wind repeated that performance throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. A tree went down on Empire Road in Felton, another closed Pine Street near Glen Arbor in Ben Lomand, and yet another in Ben Lomand toppled onto the Sugar residence.

"It was kind of creepy when the tree fell down, but it was kind of cool," says Marlana Sugar of Ben Lomdon.

You had to keep your cool if you were on Highway 17 today. This morning, gale force winds brought down utiility lines, closing both lanes of Northbound 17 into San Jose for two hours. At the Summit, our camera lens needed constant wiping and interviews were almost impossible.

The storm brought the usual power outages, traffic headaches and frantic calls to 911.

Flash flood warnings for Santa Cruz and Monterey counties lifted shortly after four Friay afternoon, but people here are still keeping a close eye on the San Lorenzo River.

"It rises pretty quickly, but goes down pretty quickly, so it's just a dynamic situation," says Capt. Bryan Weber with the Ben Lomand Fire District.

There are a lot of people still with no power, just the warmth of a fireplace and some people like Bruce Argyle who also have a good feeling knowing he narrowly escaped the storm's wrath.

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