By Devin Fehely


SANTA CRUZ COUNTY (KPIX 5) — Days of rain have turned a large swath of the Santa Cruz Mountains into a muddy mess where residents on Thursday were grappling with downed trees and power line and slipping hillsides.

“We’re in a forest. You say your prayers. We love the redwoods. You hope for the best. And everyone kind of networks with each other,” said Boulder Creek resident Joan Eleni.

Eleni says she mercifully has been spared the worst that the winter storm has brought to other parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Along Highway 9 North of Boulder Creek, gusting winds toppled trees and snared power lines.

“You know we’ve been in a drought off and on for years. So, it has an impact to have all this rain all at once,” Laura Sultan.

On Bear Creek Road, crews rushed to clear several downed trees and smaller mudslides that blocked the roadway for much of the morning.

Problems related to the storm also snarled traffic on Highway 17 Wednesday afternoon as two crashes, including a fatal accident caused by a tree that fell across both lanes of the road, closed lanes for hours.

Residents says they’re crossing their fingers that a mid-afternoon break in the storm will give saturated hillsides a chance to dry out and stabilize the situation.

“We still have March to get through. It can be really wet. It’s kind of ominous,” Eleni said.

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