Destructive winds beat Santa Cruz coastline during latest Bay Area storm

Dustin Dorsey Image
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Destructive winds beat Santa Cruz during latest Bay Area storm
The latest storm to hit the Bay Area brought destructive winds, power outages and downed trees to Santa Cruz.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- The latest storm to hit the Bay Area brought destructive winds to our coast, especially in Santa Cruz. There were warnings for winds up to 80 miles per hour on Tuesday, but that didn't stop people from coming by to see Mother Nature's show.

Winds absolutely ripped along the coast of Santa Cruz at West Cliff. Street signs were shaking, trees were quaking and birds practically flying completely still.

It was sight to see for tourists far and wide. But if you got caught looking at the incredible waves for too long, you'd get a sharp taste of saltwater.

"It's crazy to watch the waves, because they're so big," Alturas Resident Khyli Marcussen said.

Live storm updates: More than 184K Bay Area customers without power, PG&E says

"They're pretty cool when they hit the cliff and it sprays back at you," Modesto resident Alexandria Cassagio said." It's kind of like at Disneyland with Splash Mountain, but with the ocean."

"It feels invigorating and lively," Modesto resident Elizabeth Cassagio said. "It gives you a lot of respect for Mother Nature out here. If this is calm, but I wouldn't want to be out there on a boat."

The awe on the coastline quickly turned to concern by the afternoon.

Santa Cruz came under a thunderstorm warning due to destructive winds up to 80 miles per hour. Santa Cruz County officials are worried about the damage it would cause.

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One of the hardest-hit areas from the devastating bomb cyclone was the Santa Cruz County coastline. Here's a before and after look at the region.

"That's what we're mainly concerned about because we have saturated ground throughout the county, it knocks over trees and that takes out roads," Santa Cruz County public information officer Jason Hoppin said. "And when the trees go down, that takes out wires and that causes power outages."

Power was out in the neighborhoods near Natural Bridges State Park. At one point in the afternoon, PG&E outage maps showed hundreds to thousands of people without electricity in Santa Cruz.

The fear about trees falling down proved to be a valid one as well.

Gregory Griffin wasn't at all surprised to return home and find a massive cypress tree down. One side of the road was completely blocked to oncoming traffic.

MORE: 2-year-old boy in stable condition after tree crashes into Santa Cruz Mountains home, family says

Griffin watched as a second tree came crashing down moments later, crushing a Prius and injuring the driver inside.

"I'm thankful it went that way," Griffin said. "Because when we just drove up, we went, 'oh my goodness'. We're safe here now. I live right here and I've been watching this tree for the last few storms as it's been just like going and listing and the roots have been heaving, the ground has been going like this. And then, he's lucky to be alive. Because that car is pretty totaled."

We are happy to report that the driver was able to walk away from the scene, but it does not take away from the seriousness of these winds.

The sights are incredible to see. But until things die down, it's best to not come to the coast for your own safety

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