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Video: Massive landslide shuts down southbound Highway 17

Raw video: Massive landslide shuts down southbound Highway 17
Raw video: Massive landslide shuts down southbound Highway 17 03:23

SANTA CRUZ -- A potent atmospheric river roared into Santa Cruz County Monday morning, triggering landslides in the mountains and evacuations due to rising rivers and creeks.

Southbound traffic on Hwy 17, the major transit hub through the coastal mountains, was shut down after tons of debris slammed onto the roadway.

Caltrans has not issued an ETA as to when the slide would be cleaned up and the lanes reopened. Another wintry blast was forecast for late Monday and early Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, another massive slide had crashed down on SR-9 and Holiday Lane blocking the roadway. There was no ETA as to when the roadway would reopen.

Rising water was the issue at the Browns Valley Road Bridge at Via Del Sol which has been damaged. Crews responded and made contact with people who live in the area. The alternative route is Las Colinas Drive.   

Elsewhere, the rain swollen San Lorenzo River surged into a neighborhood in the Santa Cruz Mountain community of Felton, triggering water rescues by local firefighters.

Officials said the river crested at 24.52 feet at 7:45 a.m. near the Felton Grove neighborhood, trapping several residents who ignored the pre-dawn evacuation order delivered over loudspeakers by sheriffs deputies.

Authorities deployed jet skis and a water rescue unit from Ben Lomond as water quickly rose to chest level.

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Debris was being carried downstream into Santa Cruz.

The weather service has issued a flood watch for the entire Bay Area into Tuesday. Over the span, forecasters said the valleys will be getting 2-5 inches of rain, the Bay Area hills 4-7 inches and 6-12 inches in the mountains.

"As of writing," weather service forecasters wrote at 5:20 a.m. "We are seeing rainfall rates of 0.5 to 0.75 inchs per hour in some areas of Marin, Sonoma, and Santa Cruz counties. Expect rates within this ballpark to continue through sunrise with precipitation gradually tapering off through the morning for the North Bay."

Aside from the San Lorenzo River, the National Weather Service said, flooding was of concern at the Russian River at Johnson's Beach near Guerneville, Alameda Creek near Niles Canyon, Coyote Creek above Hwy 237 at Milpitas, the Big Sur River, Carmel River at Robles Del Rio and the Guadalupe River above Almaden Expressway.  

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