Winter storm strikes valleys
by Peter Burke
Dec 06, 2012 | 1933 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Four-year-olds Collin Wheatley (on slide) and Vaughn Chomentowski splash down Sunday, Dec. 2 at Skypark in Scotts Valley where heavy weekend rains turned the playground into a puddle. Courtesy of Selene Lenox
Four-year-olds Collin Wheatley (on slide) and Vaughn Chomentowski splash down Sunday, Dec. 2 at Skypark in Scotts Valley where heavy weekend rains turned the playground into a puddle. Courtesy of Selene Lenox


The San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley areas weathered the first major winter storm of the season as many areas saw more than 10 inches of rain in four days.

Despite flash flood warnings from the National Weather Service early Sunday, Dec. 2, the valleys had little damage.

In Boulder Creek, 12.13 inches of rain fell in the five days from Nov. 28 to Sunday, raising the season total to 18.93 inches.

The heaviest rainfall was Friday, Nov. 30, when 5.23 inches of rain fell on the area, according to data from the San Lorenzo Valley Water District.

The rain and some high winds felled trees and power lines. Highway 9 was closed twice in Boulder Creek as trees crashed across the road, Two-Bar road was closed Sunday and Highway 236 was closed once during the storm, said Chief Kevin McClish of Boulder Creek Fire Protection District.

A home workshop was struck by a large tree branch that punctured the roof, but fire crews were not called to deal with any other trees that had fallen on homes.

“We didn’t get near the amount of calls we were expecting,” McClish said Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Ben Lomond was left nearly unscathed by the driving rain. A tree fell across Highway 9 south of the town, diverting traffic most of the day Friday. However, there was no major storm-related damage, according to Chief Stacie Brownlee of Ben Lomond Fire Protection District.

“Everything fared well up here,” she said Monday, Dec. 3, after the storm had passed.

The area covered by Zayante Fire Protection District was hit harder. A small redwood tree fell into a house on Zayante Lakes Road, fire Chief John Stipes said.

Other trees and wires fell throughout the district, and a car accident on Lompico Road broke off a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. pole, closing the road for several hours and knocking out electricity to part of the area.

“I have to give them credit, PG&E was on it right when the lines went down,” Stipes said. “I’m not sure if they had an extra crew in the area because they were expecting (outages), but they were on top of it.”

Throughout the bay area, PG&E reported 358,950 outages during the storm including periodic outages in the San Lorenzo Valley. Nearly all power was restored by Monday afternoon.

Stipes reported that Lompico and Zayante creeks came close to overflowing their banks, but the rain subsided enough for levels to decrease.

“All in all, we’ve had a lot worse with less water,” Stipes said.

Valley Churches United Missions offers sandbags for pickup during storms at 9400 Highway 9 in Ben Lomond. More information is available by phone at 336-8258.

Felton was also relatively unscathed following several days of heavy rain. Cal Fire reported that 10.78 inches fell in Felton between Nov. 28 and Sunday, raising the seasonal total to 16.46 inches.

A tree fell on San Lorenzo Way on Nov. 28, blocking the roadway. However, there were no serious incidents or flooding in Felton, according to Felton Fire Protection District Chief Ron Rickabough.

Scotts Valley was spared major damage during the storm, too.

The area saw 10.32 inches of rain during the five-day storm and several small incidents. A tree fell and blocked Carbonera Drive on Friday, and a small power outage occurred on Bethany Drive, according to Scotts Valley Fire District Chief Dan Grebil.

“We fared fairly well,” Grebil said.

After some mild Wednesday morning showers at Press-Banner press time, no rain is predicted for the weekend.

To comment, email editor Peter Burke at, call 438-2500 or post a comment at

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