“Our roadways have been pounded this winter by the severe weather conditions,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said, putting into quick words a summary of the drastic events that have taken a toll on San Lorenzo Valley this past winter.
After a harrowing season, multiple mudslides, road closures, and power outages the citizens of San Lorenzo Valley are looking forward to carefree spring weather. Racking up more than 400 million dollars in repairs, this winter has been anything but easy.
Constant and heavy downpour led to many power outages across the valley which had severe complications. With no power there comes limited heating, lighting, and technological resources. Phones and chargers are out, foods can no longer be preserved in fridges, and candles and flashlights become your only source of light. For many students, power outages became not only a source of annoyance and inconvenience but caused an inability to complete their schoolwork. With many assignments and programs for school now internet based, this difficulty proved exhausting as the loss of power plagued many homes over the course of several months.
Mudslides and fallen trees were another set of issues in constant rotation all over the Valley. Many of the trees scattered on the hills of Santa Cruz are redwoods, which have thick roots which grow together and most often stay rooted in the ground. However, with the steady deluge of precipitation, old, dead, or unsteady trees were loosened and collapsed, sometimes without consequences, others not so lucky. The repercussions of these events caused roads such as Highway 17 and Highway 9 to be blocked for considerable amounts of time. Multiple roads to homes, driveways, and trails were also cut off due to these accidents. Kaylo Zubey, a resident of Boulder Creek, quotes “The road damage that has affected me the most is the one lane road in Brookdale, it makes it so that it takes forever to get anywhere.”
School closures for San Lorenzo Valley occurred on several occasions. Some of the factors due to school being closed were the difficulty for kids to make it to school from across the Valley, dangerous driving conditions, and concern for students safety while at school. It is the law that if there is no running water and available, functioning restrooms at a school, then all students must be sent home or school will be canceled. School was canceled altogether for a couple days and let out early once. All after-school activities were also canceled. Due to this, some teachers had to readjust their schedule and make changes to their plans, as well as families altering their agendas. After a certain number of school days being canceled, the district is required to push the number of days in a year into overtime, and tack more time onto the end of the school season. No matter how enjoyable days off can be, it would be much less pleasant to be stuck in school during the first days of your “should be” summer vacation.
Conclusively, the winter months for SLV have been straining and have required a large amount of patience and perseverance from many different people. The cooperation of families, road services such as PG&E, school staff, and the whole population of our mountain towns have played a part in toughing out the battering storms and harsh weather. Despite the bitter climates and need for determination, our community managed to come out on the other side stronger than before.
By: Calyssa Solberg