Storm Forces Evacuations in Santa Cruz

By Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010  |  Updated 5:06 PM PDT
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January 2010 Bay Area Storm Photos

KSBW

This is the flooding Felton Grove in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The San Lorenzo River backed up quickly Wednesday morning and caused a surprise flood.

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An evacuation order was issued for residents in the Felton Grove area in Santa Cruz County due to the rapid rise of the San Lorenzo  River at Big Trees.

The San Lorenzo River reached 18 feet at one point and that was enough to flood several roads and homes. County spokeswoman Dinah Phillips indicated there may be a logjam upriver.

  Warning sirens were sounded to alert the area's 100 to 200 residents about the situation around 11 a.m., but the evacuation order was lifted by 4 p.m.

One resident had to hitch a ride on the hood of a sheriff's vehicle to get out of the way of the flooding.  He said he thought he had enough time, but ended up trapped.

Most of the homes near the flooded portion of the river did not sustain any damage because the structures are on stilts that are 10 to 15 feet off the ground.

People who live in them said they knew to leave even before the sirens because they were watching the river rise.   Some cars were flooded, as well as a few garages.

The Santa Cruz mountains was hit hard by Wednesday's storm.

A mudslide slid on to Highway 17, shutting down all Northbound lanes for a time.

At least 17 other road in unincorporated Santa Cruz County are closed due to downed trees and mud.
 

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