CORRALITOS, California. – After recent devastating weather storms on California rivers, a zip line has become a lifeline for a community.
The access bridge in Corralitos, located in Santa Cruz County, was washed away by stormwater. It could have left several families stranded. However, thanks to resident Darrell Hardy, that didn’t happen.
Seven households use the bridge almost daily because it is the only way into the city for work and supplies.
The dozen or so residents who live on Grizzly Flat Road, located on the north side of where the culvert was damaged, were powerless for more than three weeks. Redwood Road, another community on the south side, also lost power due to road washout and downed power poles.
Hardy said fuel is important to Grizzly Flat Road residents because they are all off the grid and using solar panels and generators.
“On New Year’s Eve, I pulled over and the driveway was flooded with water,” Hardy said. “I could see that one of the retaining walls was already starting to give way.”
Since he couldn’t get home, Hardy was forced to stay in a hotel. When he tried to return home in the morning, the retaining wall was gone.
“It was clear that bridge failure was imminent,” he said.
CALIFORNIA’S UNRELENTING ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS DROP 32 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER DURING 3 WEEKS
More than three weeks of almost continuous rain A stubborn weather pattern developed in California that sent wave after wave of tropical atmospheric rivers, causing widespread flooding, mudslides and power outages across the state.
The first wave of rain came ashore on December 26. After a break that lasted a couple of days, a cyclone bomb harnessed in a Pineapple Express type atmospheric river as 2022 came to a close to nearly set San Francisco’s all-time daily rainfall record with more than 5 inches of rain.
Hardy, who had never ziplined before, set up the line on New Year’s Day. While gathering supplies, he came across an assembly kit that came in handy in building the nearly 70-foot zip line.
DRAMATIC PICTURES SHOW DEVASTATION FROM ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS ATTACK OPENING IN CALIFORNIA
Today, the water levels have dropped substantially and residents are able to walk on the rubble of the bridge. Hardy said the city of Watsonville, which owns the bridge, is still in talks with the county that has jurisdiction over salmon habitats.
“They haven’t really started to rebuild that yet,” he said. “They’re supposed to get us at least one footbridge here in the next week or so.”
Hardy said he was confident that the city and county are moving as quickly as possible to resolve the issue. The county also sent a biologist to the site on Thursday.
Overall, the FOX Forecast Center calculated an estimated average of 11 inches of rain across the state over the extended period. That translates to about 32 billion gallons of water in the state that fell since December 24.