After years of a sustained drought, some of California’s strongest storms in years have moved into the state this winter. The Bay Area has experienced a particularly wet winter, but the Santa Cruz Mountains have likely been hit the hardest by all of the storms.
Crews hired by Santa Cruz County on Friday scrambled to shore up and protect what’s left of Bear Creek Road near Boulder Creek. The road was too important to shut down, so a new traffic light was instituted that regulates drivers on the one remaining lane. Workers say it will take weeks to make significant repairs to the road. Santa Cruz County has suffered more than $20 million in road damage.
This winter, more than forty percent of California is no longer in a drought for the first time in four years. A year ago only three percent of the state was classified as not being in a drought. Nearly all of Northern California – from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Oregon border – has now returned to normal water conditions.
Alona Vincent lives in Boulder Creek and was affected by the storm. When asked how she was affected, she said, “Every road from my house was blocked. I could go to the store but not beyond the store.” Almost everyone lost power at some point during the storm. Vincent lost power but thankfully she owns a generator. She stated that a generator is necessary if you are trapped in a storm. The storm has been good and bad for many different reasons. Vincent said “The rain itself has been good for us because of the drought. However, many people’s houses were damaged and there were many roads closed and flooding occurred all over the valley.”
Many parts of Northern California received from 15-25 percent of their annual average rainfall in the past seven days. The storms have brought more than twelve inches of rain to the Santa Cruz Mountains, and there is still more to come.
By Calyssa Solberg