South Bay communities brace for more rain

Rainy skies much of the day Tuesday gave way to partial clearing in the afternoon. Even so, roadways such as Highway 17 were damp and wet, which led to problems for some motorists.

“Once the rain stops, they speed up, thinking it’s okay to drive faster. Which is actually contrary,” said Jennifer Simmons, a CHP officer from the Santa Cruz office.

She said conditions were perfect to produce three accidents, all within the course of one hour. The drivers lost control on Highway 17 near Glenwood Drive.

“The car slipped on its own. I guess the road is slippery. It just kind of went out of place, went like that, and hit the center-divide,” said driver Dexter Woods, as he described his accident into the median.

Woods wasn’t hurt but said he learned a valuable lesson after driving on roads that weren’t as dry and forgiving as they may appeared: Slow down.

In multiple towns in the Santa Cruz Mountains, people are bracing for more rain, and the problems it causes. At the Valley Churches United food bank in Ben Lomond, the “special” on order is sand. The pile that was, has dwindled down to near nothing. A new load is expected Wednesday.

“Whatever rain is happening in the county, we’re one of the ones that ‘ll see the highest levels of rainfall. It just comes right down out of every watershed right in this particular area. So this a community that knows to be prepared. Does it’s best to be prepared,” said Lynn Robinson, executive director of the food bank.

Preparation extends to waterways as well. In the town of Felton, Santa Cruz County Parks Department crews are clearing the riverbanks of the San Lorenzo River. Forecasted heavy rainfall beginning Tuesday could lead to flooding if logs and other debris aren’t removed ahead of time.

“We try to do a preemptive strike and clean up all the debris that we can…Yeah it can be that’s why we do it now. Especially if the river level goes up, this is all gonna end up in there. So, try to get it out while we can,” said Ben Rooks, who used a front end loader to remove portions of a tree limb that had been cut into logs.

The CHP and at least one driver both said to slow down as you negotiate Highway 17 Tuesday  evening and into Wednesday.