SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) — A Santa Cruz man who was killed when a tree fell on top of him at Lighthouse Field State Beach during stormy weather was identified on Tuesday.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 72-year-old Gary Yules.
The tree toppled to the ground at 1:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve while a raging rainstorm lashed the beach town and saturated soil. A witness called 911 to report that a person was pinned under the tree.
Paramedic extricated Yules and pronounced him deceased at the scene, according to California State Parks officials. “We extend our thoughts and prayers to the victim’s family and loved ones,” parks officials wrote.
A new storm wielding even stronger winds will hit Santa Cruz early Wednesday morning.
People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees when the brunt of the storm hits, officials with the National Weather Service Bay Area said.
The NWS wrote, “Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Saturated soils will allow for trees to topple more easily during this prolonged wind event. The strongest winds will be during the cold frontal passage late Wednesday afternoon through early Thursday morning.”
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office wrote on its Facebook page Tuesday, “With this next round of rain and wind we are anticipating seeing impacts similar to or greater than the storm we just had New Year’s Eve. We encourage everyone, especially residents in low lying areas or next to waterways to be prepared. With the ground already being saturated and minimal drying time between storms we want everyone to take an abundance of caution. Residents should have a ‘go’ bag already packed in the event there is a need to evacuate quickly.”
Residents who live in low lying areas next to the San Lorenzo River, Soquel Creek, Salsipuedes, or Corralitos Creeks should consider moving to higher ground before the storm arrives because the brunt of the rain is expected overnight Wednesday into Thursday, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The National Weather Service activated Flood Watches and High Wind Advisories.