Both Mercury News and the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported mudslides on Highway 17. Highway 17 was closed around 3 a.m. due to a mudslide caused by the intense storm that has battered the California coast. Traffic slowed fairly quickly, with “both northbound lanes and one of the two southbound lanes closed on the road between the summit and Scotts Valley.”
PG&E and Caltrans officials are on site attempting to clear the roads, but it looks like folks will have to take an alternative route out of Santa Cruz. Caltrans confirmed this around 7:36 a.m., posting that the 17 “is closed to northbound traffic at the junction of SR1 (Santa Cruz County) due to down tree & power lines – motorists are advised to use an alternate route.”
According to a tweet from ABC 7 News, only the southbound right lane is able to get by. Sadly, northbound lanes between Vine Hill Road and Sugarloaf Rd. are still impassable. Motorists are being told to use Highways 9 or 1 instead.
There are also reports of a “downed tree” and wires. A large power pole crashed onto the highway and a large power cable is currently lying at the side of the road.
According to NBC Bay Area, U.S. Highway 101 also shut down on Sunday night around the Gilroy area due to flooding from the storm. Both sides of the freeway were closed just south of Monterey Street just after 9 p.m. Lanes were reopened after being drained of about three feet of water on Monday around 6 a.m.
An overnight mudslide in Pacifica also forced the closure of northbound Highway 1 on Monday around 4:50 a.m.
Forecaster Steve Anderson says that while this storm’s rainfall is expected to lighten up as it continues, “the impact will still be there.”
“You could have flooding with some local creeks, and it’s very saturated, so some trees will continue to be knocked down,” he said.
Mercury News also reports at least 150,000 PG&E customers lost power during the storm that began Friday. About 80% of those customers regained power on Sunday night, with the rest coming back on Monday.
Anderson says that the next storm system will not bring as much moisture but will be even colder. Winds are expected to reach anywhere between 25–60 mph, and residents of Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa have been put on alert.
Stay alert and pack a jacket (or three)!