Highway 17 in Santa Cruz County mostly reopen after closures from extreme snow, fallen trees

It could be mistaken for a drive to Tahoe, but it's actually Santa Cruz County.

The California Highway Patrol closed a portion of Highway 17 early Friday for hours because of the snow and dangerous conditions. The highway was almost completely open again around 3 p.m. although only one southbound lane north of Summit Road was open, the CHP said.

Six inches of snow had accumulated in areas near the summit. 

Besides closing the main road through the Santa Cruz mountains, authorities had also shut Highways 9 and 35. Drivers trying to travel from San Jose to Santa Cruz were forced to take a huge detour using Highway 101 and other routes that could be a two-hour trip.

It's not just the snow causing the problem though. It's downed trees and power lines.

Officials said large trees have fallen on the road, and more are cracking in the severe weather.

Ten drivers have been stranded on the highway, officials said. Crews also worked to remove a tow truck that is stuck in the snow.

One driver told KTVU he was stuck for hours on the side of the road until getting a lift from another passing driver.

SEE ALSO: Bay Area snow photos: rare winter storm transforms California landscape

Ice was also a problem, as the snow that is falling is heavy and wet, according to authorities.

The highway is closed in both directions from Granite Creek Rd at Scotts Valley to Bear Creek Rd, CHP said.

Other roads through the area are closed as well.