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Rain From Atmospheric River Raises Slide Concerns in Santa Cruz Mountains

FELTON (KPIX) -- Some of the heaviest rainfall from the arriving atmospheric river storm is expected to fall in the South Bay, making some residents in the Santa Cruz mountains nervous.

The town of Felton is lit up for the holidays, but there's a little uneasiness to go with the twinkling lights.

Sunday's storm dropped considerable precipitation to the area. With the rain comes the threat of mudslides, especially on nearby slopes that recently burned.

"I am a little worried about the neighborhoods in Boulder Creek and Bonny Doon
that have the burn scar very close to their homes," said Felton resident Julie Kanagy.

The CZU Lightning Complex fires burned in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties in August of 2020. 86,000 acres were torched, and almost 1,500 buildings were lost.

With burn areas stripped of vegetation, heavy rains could trigger slides.
But it's a balancing act because the rest of the mountains desperately need the rain.

"Rain is good. We need the rain. If it rains another two weeks, I'll be happy," said Bruce Dorman of Felton.

With the rain came gusty winds, which made driving in the Santa Cruz Mountains
a little more treacherous.

Highway 17 stayed clear, with light Sunday evening traffic.

In San Jose, the rain caused families to bundle up for shopping and outdoor holiday fun like Christmas in the Park.

"It's kind of cold, raining here and there and windy," said Jaclyn Harless, who lives in Fairfield.

The rain closed the Downtown Ice skating rink for the day, and the crowds were
lighter than usual.

But families braved the weather, and were glad to have it back, after missing it because of COVID last year.

"It's still beautiful though. There's a lot of things to look at. Just a light drizzle, but people are still enjoying themselves," said Modesto resident Henry Coronado.

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