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More rain on the way

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 15th, 2017

Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian Winter storms have damaged numerous roads around the county, including this section of Soquel-San Jose Road, 5.9 miles above Soquel Village.

County deals with storm destruction

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — The crumpling and caving in of several county roads has put a clamp on people commuting over the Santa Cruz Mountains over the past few weeks. With Highway 152 between Watsonville and Gilroy and Soquel-San Jose Road shut off indefinitely because of mudslides caused by recent storms, motorists are having their patience tested daily now in their attempts to reach the San Jose and San Francisco areas.

Adding to the nightmare, Highway 17 continues to be narrowed to one lane in each direction at Vine Hill Road because of a huge mudslide and an unstable road surface. The California Highway Patrol advises drivers to seek an alternative route to Highway 17.

Meanwhile, a few more wet weather systems are stacking up in the weather picture and will drench the region starting today. Duane Dykema, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Monterey, said a wet weather front will move through the Monterey Bay early today.

“By midday most of the rain will be over,” Dykema said. “This system, off of the Pacific, will not be too extraordinary. There will be a mix of light and heavy rain for about five hours.”

Gusty winds of up to 35 to 40 mph will add to the mix.

Dykema said that a break in the storm will arrive this afternoon. Then another system will drift in late tonight and bring lingering showers into Friday. There could be a few showers Saturday morning, Dykema said, but things should dry out later in the day and remain so through Sunday evening.

Another rain system, however, is expected by late Sunday.

Soquel-San Jose Road at mile marker 5.91 remains in a hard closure, meaning the road is closed to all vehicles, including residential and commute traffic. To allow emergency vehicles access to residents in the area, the Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works has not completely blocked off the roadway on Soquel-San Jose Road.

However, the road is an extreme hazard and closed to all non-emergency traffic, said Jason Hoppin, communications manager for Santa Cruz County. Driving through posted closure signs may result in a citation from the California Highway Patrol.

“For the safety of everyone, please obey road closure signs,” Hoppin said. “The County is aware of the very long commute hours and the difficulties of getting to and from the Bay Area, and asks the driving public to be patient as we work on assuring roads are passable and safe. We thank the public for their continued patience.”

Additionally, a section of Soquel Drive is breaking apart and threatening the southbound lane south of Aptos Village, slowing traffic in the area.

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