Heavy rains pound Santa Cruz Mountains, flash flood watch in effect

Heavy rain pounded the Santa Cruz Mountains Tuesday. The region is under a flash flood watch until Wednesday morning. County officials are concerned about the burned out areas from the Loma Fire.

Heavy equipment was brought in Tuesday night to cut up a 50-foot tree that fell from the hillside after 6 p.m. on Empire Grade Road in Felton. The rain saturated the hillside.
"It’s been very busy on the hill because of the rain,” said Officer Justin Rhodes of Santa Cruz. “We are just going from call to call of trees down, rocks down, and landslides.”

Large raindrops kept roads wet and dangerous. On Highway 17 heading into the Santa Cruz Mountains, emergency crews were responding to a car accident causing traffic backup during the evening commute.

CHP Santa Cruz said there were at least 10 accidents Tuesday on the notoriously windy road.

“You just have to take it slow, try to reduce the speed and I wish everyone else would,” said Shari Simpson who lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

A flash flood watch is in effect until Tuesday morning in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The County’s Office of Emergency Services notified residents in the Loma Fire Burn Area of possible slides and flooding. The fire burned 4,500 acres last fall. On Loma Prieta Way, a lot of the vegetation is gone.
“There are some hazards with the fire,” said Kevin Zaknich who is a manager at the Summit Store. “I'm sure the people who live in those areas are worried about landslides and the earth moving.”

The rain is good business for the Summit Store that’s out of stock of wood. The manager said families are also stocking up on propane, water and candles in case of power outages. The rain is a welcome sight for him.

“It’s actually nice to see rain in January,” said Summit Store Manager Kevin Zaknich. “The last few years it’s been a cold, dry january so it's nice to see the wet. We need the rain up here.”

Shari Simpson who lives in the mountains is soaking up the wet weather.

"It’s rain right now we need it right,” said Simpson. “Lexington is filling up. I love it.”