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Fallen trees cause Highway 9 closure near Ben Lomond

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV)- UPDATE December 17, 2021 3:43 A.M. A part of Highway 9 is reopened. Drivers can expect one way traffic control from Upper Glen Arbor Road to Scenic Way.

Fallen trees from Wednesday night's rain are causing delays through Ben Lomond.

Highway 9 was completely closed in both directions at Glen Arbor Rd. due to a tree down onto power lines. Pacific Gas & Electric said more than 1,000 customers lost power when the tree fell around 2:30 a.m. Crews were working throughout the day to restore power to some, but they said they may be out on Highway 9 until midnight.

"Ben Lomond was one of the hardest-hit areas along the Central Coast. We received dozens of reports of fallen trees that fell into electrical equipment and cut power to thousands of customers," said Mayra Tostado, PG&E spokesperson. "We responded to an outage on Monday, and while we were assessing the damage, we had trees that were falling around our workers."

PG&E says people in Ben Lomond should still be careful even though the rain has stopped for the next few days.

"The soil continues to be saturated and in areas that are very unstable, there is a possibility that trees will continue to come down," said Tostado.

More rain is on the way next week. But those living in Ben Lomond are no strangers to the weather.

"Typical Ben Lomond. Lots of trees, lots of fun weather. And then subsequently, a lot of trees fall on the power lines," said Thomas Goode, who lost power Thursday morning.

Another giant tree fell overnight in the parking lot of Scarborough Lumber, just a few hundred feet up the road from the closure. The tree barely missed hitting the store and they were still open Thursday morning.

"It's probably one of the iconic trees in the area. It's probably 200 plus years old, would be my guess. And it's just a shame to lose," said George McMenamin.

McMenamin, along with many other locals, stopped by to get a look at the tree for themselves. McMenamin said he was hoping to collect some acorns from the giant Valley Oak to replant.

"We had three [of the trees] here before. There's only one of them left now, so we've lost two of the three in the last five years. Most of the trees this old have either died or people cut them down," said McMenamin.

Crews were working on chopping up the tree and removing debris from the parking lot all day Thursday. They say some of the wood will be taken to the dump, and some will be used for firewood. But they say the owner of Scarborough Lumber is keeping a giant section to serve as a monument to the iconic tree in front of the store.

Leftover wood from fallen Valley Oak.
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Lisa Principi

Lisa Principi is a reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Taryn Mitchell

Taryn Mitchell is a weekend anchor and multimedia journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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