Big Sur Information

Header Photo by bigsurkate, Cone and Twin Peaks on 1/25/21


Los Padres National Forest, Monterey Ranger District is closed in the area of the Dolan Fire until 5/21/21. This is the area from Partington Ridge in the north to, and including, Los Burros Road to the south. Nacimiento-Fergusson, South Coast Ridge Road, Plaskett Ridge Road and Los Burros Road are all closed. Businesses are open. Highway One is open, but that can change at any time during the winter.

For the most thorough and complete guide to Big Sur on the internet see:

Big Sur Visitor’s Guide


Interactive Highway Map with Mile Markers and slide names is to the right, under “Pages” first one *Big Sur Interactive Maps... if the following link doesn’t work. *Big Sur Interactive Slide Maps will answer any questions you may have about where something is in relation to something else.


(Size for any header photos you may wish to submit it is 760×151 pixels.)

Some people attempt to comment (all first time commenters must be approved) using a fake email account. Your email account shows to no one but me, but if you use a fake account (and I check) I will not be approving your comment.


Lastly, there are two “seasons” on BigSurKate — fire season and rainy season. Twice a year I change my links over from one season to the other. The “change over” takes hours, so it is sometimes spread over days. It is during this “transition time” you will notice the two categories simultaneous — one growing and one shrinking. Always a fun time for me.

Incoming and road closure, 1/26/21


MONTEREY and SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTIES – Highway 1 on the Big Sur Coast will be closed between Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County and Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn in Monterey County (44.6 miles) beginning Tuesday Jan. 26 at 5 pm.

This closure on Highway 1 is expected to remain in effect until Thursday, Jan. 28. Assessments will take place, during daylight hours and when safe to do so, prior to reopening of the highway.

A major rainstorm is expected to advance on the Monterey Bay area late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. High winds also pose the potential for downed trees and power lines.

Monterey County has issued an Evacuation Warning for areas downslope of the Dolan Fire burn scar where this storm brings an increased likelihood of debris flows. 

Caltrans is working with local agencies to minimize travel into Big Sur to allow residents and businesses to evacuate in the safest conditions possible.

This evacuation closure of Highway 1 comes at the request of the California Highway Patrol and in support of Monterey County’s Evacuation Warning.

Ragged Point is located 1.45 miles south of the SLO/Monterey County line:

Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn is located in Monterey County at Post Mile 42.1:

Barricades, cones, as well as message and directional signs will be in place at both ends of the closure to alert motorists traveling in the area.

First off, I haven’t heard from Cal Trans on where they are closing highway 1, yet, but will add it right up at top of this post when I do. Secondly, this bull’s-eye on Big Sur is eye-popping, mouth-opening crazy. Some reports are that it will be sticking around for 20 hours or so, which is why rain amounts are so astronomical. Another report I read this am is that it is expected to arrive tonight, around midnight.

From Daniel Swain: “Then, on Wednesday, the #AtmosphericRiver/associated cold frontal rainband will likely stall along Central Coast (near border of Monterey/SLO counties). High-res models are suggesting potential for extreme 48hr rainfall accums, & very high flood/mudslide risk there.”

“The Hwy corridor and Big Sur, as well as the Dolan/River Fire footprints, appear to be at very high risk in this scenario. Other models aren’t quite as aggressive with rainfall totals here, but still suggest a high likelihood of 10-15 inches.”


From MoCo OES – Portions of Highway One to close Tuesday at 5 pm due to potential debris flow

Due to the upcoming atmospheric river and high likelihood for debris flows, parts of State Route 1 in Big Sur will be closed with barricades and signs beginning at 5:00PM on Tues, January 26 and is expected to remain closed until Thur, January 28. More info tomorrow.@CaltransD5

Evacuation Warnings for Dolan, Carmel & River Fire Burn Scars

Evacuation Warning Issued for Carmel, River and Dolan Fire Burn Scar Areas

CLARIFICATION FROM MCSO: If you are not living in close proximity to a burn scar, you may have received a message in error. If you are unsure if you are in an evacuation zone visit the evacuation map:

WHEN: Effective January 25th at 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Carmel, River and Dolan Fires burn scar areas

WHAT: The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Warning for areas within and two miles downslope of the Carmel Fire, River Fire, and Dolan Fire burn scars due to the upcoming atmospheric river and the high likelihood for debris flows. There is also currently a Flash Flood Watch in place.

The Evacuation Warning will take effect Monday. January 25th at 4:00 p.m.

This warning is being given well in advance of our incoming storm system due to anticipated rainfall. Beginning late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning, the US National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area/Monterey California is predicting 8 to 10 inches of rain over the course of the storm in the Santa Lucia Mountains and Los Padres National Forest in Monterey County, which would impact all wildfire burn scar areas.

The Evacuation Warning that will be in place will be upgraded to an Evacuation Order if the Flash Flood Watch in place upgrades to a Flash Flood Warning, but those who live in dangerous areas are highly encouraged to consider leaving sooner for their safety. Due to heavy winds, those who need to leave one of the impacted areas could find exit routes impassable. Once an Evacuation Order has been issued there will likely be less than 30 minutes to evacuate.

An Evacuation Warning means individuals need to be prepared to leave immediately with a ‘go bag’ and planned evacuation route. If your situation requires more time to evacuate than an Evacuation Order allows, consider leaving early to avoid delays due to traffic congestion.

An Evacuation Order is expected to be issued at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26th.

If you feel that your life is in danger, do not wait for an emergency notification.

To find out what evacuation zone you are in, please visit:

Winter Storm Preparedness:

To register for emergency alerts, visit:

To receive text message updates, text: Text “MCWINTER” to 888777

Advertencia de evacuación emitida para las cicatrices de quemaduras de los incendios Carmel, River y Dolan
CUANDO: Efectivo el 25 de enero a las 4:00 p.m.
DÓNDE: Las cicatrices de quemaduras de los incendios Carmel, River y Dolan
QUÉ: La Oficina de Alguaciles del Condado de Monterey ha emitido una advertencia de evacuación para las áreas dentro y dos millas cuesta abajo de las cicatrices de quemaduras de los incendios Carmel, River y Dolan debido al próximo río atmosférico y la alta probabilidad de flujos de escombros. Actualmente también hay una alerta de inundaciones repentinas.
La advertencia de evacuación entrará en vigor el lunes 25 de enero a las 4:00 p.m
Esta advertencia se da mucho antes de nuestro sistema de tormentas entrante debido a las lluvias anticipadas. Desde la noche del martes hasta la madrugada del miércoles, el servicio meteorológico nacional pronostica de 8 a 10 pulgadas de lluvia durante el transcurso de la tormenta en las montañas de Santa Lucía y el bosque nacional Los Padres en el condado de Monterey, lo que afectaría todas las áreas de cicatrices de quemaduras de incendios forestales.
La advertencia de evacuación que se implementará se actualizará a una orden de evacuación si la alerta de inundación repentina en su lugar se actualiza a una advertencia de inundación repentina, pero se recomienda encarecidamente a aquellos que viven en áreas peligrosas que consideren irse antes por su seguridad. Debido a los fuertes vientos, quienes necesiten salir de una de las áreas impactadas podrían encontrar las rutas de salida intransitables. Una vez que se ha emitido una orden de evacuación, es probable que haya menos de 30 minutos para evacuar.
Una advertencia de evacuación significa que las personas deben estar preparadas para irse de inmediato con una “bolsa de viaje” y una ruta de evacuación planificada. Si su situación requiere más tiempo para evacuar del que permite una orden de evacuación, considere salir temprano para evitar retrasos debido a la congestión del tráfico.
Se espera que se emita una orden de evacuación a las 4:00 p.m. el martes 26 de enero.
Si siente que su vida está en peligro, no espere una notificación de emergencia.
• Para saber en qué zona de evacuación se encuentra, visite:
• Para registrarse para recibir alertas de emergencia, visite:
• Para recibir actualizaciones por mensaje de texto, envía “MCWINTER” al 888777

Weather West & Debris Flow Interactive Map

From Daniel Swain of Weather West:
“During the Wednesday/Thursday cold frontal passage, it is more likely than not that hourly rainfall rates will exceed thresholds capable of triggering significant debris flows over portions of the LNU Complex, CZU Complex, SCU Complex, and Dolan Fire burn scars from 2020. The highest risks to people may be in/near the LNU/CZU scars due to proximity to populated areas, but the highest meteorological risk may actually be in Monterey County.

This is because the front and associated AR is expected to stall somewhere along the Monterey/SLO County coast on Wednesday before lifting slightly back *northward* by Wednesday night as a mesoscale frontal wave develops. It’s still not 100% clear exactly where this stall will occur, but I would expect a swath of widespread 5-10 inch rainfall where this occurs (and locally 15 inches or more in orographically favored parts of the stall zone). Some flooding could occur even outside of wildfire risk zones around the location of this stall. Right now, Monterey County looks like the most likely bullseye for this–but it could happen as far north as Santa Cruz County. Even absent a stall, rain rates across the Santa Cruz Mountain burn scar will be concerning–but if the AR does find its way back north for a second pass, local concerns will be further exacerbated.”

Interactive #GIS map showing risk of #DebisFlow for wildland fires. For the legend and to get the most benefit from the map, please click “Map tips” in upper left corner. To search on address click Menu > Search. #CAwx

Open #GISsurfer map:

2/_ The map opens at the #CZULightningComplex. You can pan the map to other 2020 fires and see the same type of data. Be patient! The map might be slow to refresh. It depends in part on how much other work the GIS server is doing.

3/_ The map can display the risk of debris flow for fires back to 2018. Here is one way to make a map to see the risk of debris flow for a fire prior to 2020:
A. Click the basemap button and look under the “Overlays” heading
B. Click “Turn off all overlays”

C. Pan the map to the approximate area.
D. Click the basemap button, look under the “Overlays” heading and turn on layers in the following order:
ESRI roads and labels
State boundary
(year) Basin combined hazard
All streams rivers lakes
Segment combined hazard


Weather Predictions, 1/23/21 — Updated

Do you remember March of 1995? I will never forget it. I was on a ski trip with the Pacific Valley High School. As we rushed to get home, the Carmel River Bridge washed away, so we had to go down the 101. It was flooded and it closed right behind us. We tried to get across FHL, but both bridges were out. We went down to Paso and had dinner and called home. Highway 1 was out at Soda Springs. We got hotel rooms in San Simeon. Cal Trans told us to come up the 1 in the early morning and they would punch us through. Soda Springs was just about washed away, but Cal Trans got us through, and Rock Knocker was there. I am sure you have your memories, too. They all came flooding back to me when I read John Lindsey’s ominous tweet today. I needed to wait a day before I posted it.

John wrote: “Today’s #ECMWF & #GFS models look eerily similar to March 1995, when an intense cold front (AR) stalled over our area and tapped into a plume of subtropical moisture that stretched to Hawaii. The Santa Lucia mountains above Cambria reported 12+ inches of rain in 24 hours! #CAwx”

As someone reminded me, we were already saturated in March of 1995. Also, MoCo would not open up the mouth of the river. However, we have burn scars which we didn’t have in 1995.

Weather Predictions, 1/23/21

If this forecast verifies, Tuesday-Thursday will be insane.

From Supervisor Mary Adams: “With yesterday’s rain, Monterey County Office of Emergency Services had reports of some debris flow and is encouraging residents who live one to two miles from any of the burned areas to be on heightened alert. Winter is not over yet and more rain is coming!

All residents should sign up to receive emergency alerts at; these alerts can provide lifesaving evacuation notifications. Evacuation is often the only way to protect yourself from a debris flow. If you feel your life is in danger, DO NOT wait for an alert to evacuate, move away from the path of a debris flow as fast as you can!

If you are not sure about the proximity of your property to the burn scar or need information on preparedness for debris flow, please check the Monterey County Office of Emergency Winter Storm Preparedness webpage at: