I sent out a test message tonight to those email addresses I have. I have set up an emergency email list, called “Storm Watch 2008.” If you did not receive this test message, and you want to be on the email list, send me an email at: email@example.com with “Storm Watch 2008” in the title, and I will add your name to the list.
Unless it is an immediate emergency, this blog will still be the major source of my reporting of information. Also, for those out of the area who want to remain updated, everything I send via the emergency email list will also be posted here, so you will not need to be on the email list. Of course, you are always free to call me, too, if you are away from your email and want to check on conditions. Again, my number is 831-818-8026. If that number is ever out of service, for any reason (like the time I lost my charger), the voice mail will direct you to my other number.
Let’s hope this winter will not bring the dire predictions we are hearing about. OTOH, it is better to be prepared and not need it, then not prepared, and need it, as we all know.
I will be following the rain totals throughout tomorrow afternoon and evening. Otherwise, I’ll be home working. Have a peaceful, relaxing Hallowe’en, everyone! Remember, tomorrow night, daylight savings time ends. And with that, I bid you goodnight.
6:00 PM – Rain totals: .25 for storm; .50 for season. Tomorrow afternoon should be interesting, and I will report on rain activity as necessary.
NOON – Slight rain, on and off, nothing to speak of or even measure. Will continue to provide rain totals three times a day on the days when I am home, for those interested.
7:30 AM -Rain gauge total this am is .25 inches here at 3272′ in the Santa Lucia Mountains for the storm, .50 inches for the season. Very mild indeed. Still some wind, but pretty quiet.
Sorry about the fonts and spacing. Can’t seem to get it to change, line up, or do anything I want it to do. The information is there, it is just hard to read.
ICS being instituted by Frank Pinney, who reports at 7:OO am, including the weather predictions for our area:
ICS Core Group:Below is the National Weather Service prognostication for today and the weekend. Note the potential for 3” of rain in the SantaLucia Mtns coincides with the number spoken atthe SEAT meeting Wed night by the forecaster. (Total up to 4” for the system)Let me know by email now if you will be available Saturday for consultation by phone or email or both. I do not expect that we will need to convene at the MAF during this event, and it will be an opportunity to observe how information about the storm conditions gets to us and can be used to correlate what’s happening on the ground. Anyone have rain gauge figures storm-to-date from your location?The period of most likely storm activity appears to be Sat PM into the evening. I havesome of your cell # but not all. Please send the number if you have one and we don’t regularly contact each other by cell.Thanks for your diligence. We will try to keepeveryone up to date on developments.I take comfort in my Mom’s counsel, “Our worstfears never happen.”FrankAREA FORECAST DISCUSSIONNATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA CA
444 AM PDT FRI OCT 31 2008.DISCUSSION...AS OF 3:57 AM PDT FRIDAY...THE FIRST WAVE OF SHOWERSHAS MOVED THROUGH THE DISTRICT LAST EVENING BUT ONLY DROPPED LESSTHAN A QUARTER INCH. THE NEXT WAVE OF SHOWERS IS CURRENTLY MOVING ONTO THE COAST FROM ABOUT SAN MATEO COUNTY NORTHWARD. KMUX ISCURRENTLY SHOWING RESPECTABLE REFLECTIVITY RATES OF UP TO 40 DBZ WITHTHIS RAIN BAND...ALTHOUGH THESE REFLECTIVITIES ARE ALOFT...AROUND7000-8000 FEET AGL. AFTER THIS IMPULSE MOVES THROUGH...LOOK FOR ADECREASING SHOWER TREND THROUGH THE DAY WITH SOUTHERLY WINDSDECREASING AS WELL. THE WIND ADVISORY IS CURRENTLY IN EFFECT UNTIL 6AM...AND WILL ALLOW THIS TO END AT THAT TIME AS CURRENT WIND SPEEDSARE ALREADY ON THE DECLINE.FROM PREVIOUS DISCUSSION...PERIODS OF LIGHT RAIN ARE POSSIBLE TODAYINTO TONIGHT AS A MOIST SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST FLOW CONTINUES AHEAD OFTHE NEXT STRONGER SYSTEM DUE IN ON SATURDAY. RAINFALL ON FRIDAY ANDFRIDAY NIGHT WILL BE CONFINED PRIMARILY TO OROGRAPHICALLY FAVOREDAREAS (I.E. SOUTHWEST-FACING SLOPES).THE SATURDAY SYSTEM CONTINUES TO LOOK STRONGER AND MUCH WETTERCOMPARED TO WHAT WE`VE SEEN THUS FAR SINCE THURSDAY. THE MODELSAGREE REASONABLY WELL ON TIMING...INCREASING LIGHT WARM-ADVECTIONRAINFALL LATE FRIDAY NIGHT INTO EARLY SATURDAY MORNING. THE BULK OFTHE RAINFALL IS STILL EXPECTED TO HOLD OFF UNTIL LATE SATURDAYMORNING AND SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN THE SF BAY AREA...AND LATE SATURDAYAFTERNOON AND EVENING FOR THE MONTEREY BAY AREA. RAINFALL TOTALS WITHTHE SATURDAY SYSTEM ARE PROJECTED TO RANGE FROM 0.5 TO 1.0 INCH ATLOWER ELEVATIONS...FROM 1.5 TO 2.5 INCHES IN THE COASTAL HILLS...TOAS MUCH AS 3 INCHES IN THE SANTA LUCIA MOUNTAINS OF MONTEREY COUNTY.THAT MUCH RAINFALL IS DEFINITELY A CAUSE FOR CONCERN IN THE BURNAREAS...PARTICULARLY IF THE BULK OF IT FALLS WITHIN A RELATIVELYSHORT PERIOD OF TIME. AS OF NOW THE HEAVIEST RAINFALL IS EXPECTED TOFALL OVER THE BURN AREAS OF SANTA CRUZ AND MONTEREY COUNTIES DURINGTHE LATE AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING HOURS OF SATURDAY.SOUTHERLY WINDS WILL INCREASE LATE FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAYMORNING AHEAD OF THE INCOMING SYSTEM. LOCALLY STRONG AND GUSTY WINDSARE LIKELY AND WINDS ADVISORIES MAY BE NECESSARY.IT LOOKS AS THOUGH THE WEATHER PATTERN WILL REMAIN ACTIVE INTOEARLY NEXT WEEK. RAINFALL WILL LIKELY TAPER OFF ON SUNDAY...BUT THENPICK UP MONDAY INTO MONDAY EVENING AS THE NEXT SHORTWAVE MOVESACROSS NORTHERN CA. THE MODELS AGREE THAT DRY WEATHER WILL RETURN BYWEDNESDAY.
Weathering a storm up here is always exciting, exhilarating, and adrenaline pumping. Winds up here have been recorded at 140 mph. Yup, Category 5 type winds. Those are the times when I cover all the windows, for fear they will blow out; when I cannot walk upright outside without holding on to a railing; when the trailer where I sleep is rockin’ and rollin’ to the sounds of Elvis pumping out the tunes in the heavens. My cottage is much tamer. But tonight, the storm is mild, compared to what I can and do get. There are winds, which will stop when the rains begin, but the winds are only in the 30-40 mph range. Mild for The Top of the World. The dogs aren’t freaking out — that’s a clue that this one isn’t bad, at all.
So, I’m settled in, my silk long johns as my pjs, the down comforter on the bed, the tv going, mostly as background, and a new scary book by Dean Koontz to see me through the storm. Plenty of food, plenty of gas, plenty of things to do. I always enjoy the first storms; the first snow; the first of winter’s slower pace. Ah, yes, I am ready for that slower pace.
Meanwhile, I will be praying for all my north coast friends, hoping this weekend’s series of storms are as gentle as can be.
While I have been paying attention to the election, my blog has not. Too many other things to pay attention to. But now, with the election just around the corner, and many of my lawyer friends leaving in the next few days to be impartial observers in key states around the nation, it is time to chime in.
I have very strong views about what is right with this election, and what is wrong. However, my strongest view is that we need the largest turnout in the history of voting next Tuesday. Everyone who is registered to vote needs to exercise that power and responsibility, please. It is important.
Also, several weeks ago, I discovered one of the most delightful blogs: http://margaretandhelen.wordpress.com
Margaret doesn’t write, but Helen does. Helen is 82 years old, living in Texas, and best friends with Margaret for 60 years. Her grandson helped her start this blog a year and a half ago. She is witty, insightful, and opinionated. She has had a lot to say about this election, particularly Ms. Palin. If you want a good laugh, go see her blog. SNL, Rose O’Donnel, and many others have linked to her. I want to see her reach 1,000,000 hits by Election Day. She’s at 667,000 currently, so pass the word. You won’t regret it!
Oh, and she is listed in my blog roll to the right, if you forget how to find her.
The winds here have really picked up. The Monterey Herald is reporting a chance of thunderstorms tonight, and again on Saturday night. Weather.com is NOT predicting such an event, but it IS predicting a wind event, with gusts up to 45 mph. Could be an interesting weekend, that is for sure! Hang in there, everyone, and above all, BE SAFE, especially my friends in flood-prone areas. Are you reading this gals?? You know who you are!!
Also, please mark your calendars for two items. CPOA annual meeting on Nov. 6th, and a special art showing at the Hermitage on Nov. 8th. Details of both events are posted on the announcement page.
Dave Allen sent me the info re this storm that is coming. There are apparently two, one Thursday night into Friday, and a second, Saturday into Sunday. Small craft advisories have been issued. Here are the stats:
SW WINDS 15 TO 30 KT...OCCASIONAL GALE FORCE GUSTS TO 35 KT
IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT. MIXED SWELL NW
2 TO 4 FT AT 11 SECONDS AND S 2 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
SW WINDS 15 TO 30 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 3
TO 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS AND S 2 FT AT 13 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
SE WINDS 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 3 TO
5 FT AND S 2 FT. CHANCE OF RAIN.
SE WINDS 20 TO 30 KT...BECOMING SW 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES
3 TO 6 FT. W SWELL 5 TO 7 FT INCREASING TO 9 TO 11 FT. RAIN
SW WINDS 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 10 TO
13 FT AND S 2 FT. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
Dave also sent me a satellite photo, but technical difficulties
are preventing me from posting it here, so check out your favorite weather station.
Santa Maria is reporting that Thursday/Friday is not going to be muchbut the Saturday/Sunday system might bring significant rain. Get ready,boys and girls, this seems to be the beginning.
And now, we get back to our regularly scheduled program, with more photos from the 17th Annual Jade Festival. The Chalk Fire gave us a break for the festival, and then came unhinged. I’ll be adding a few new photos to this post every day or so, until I get all the ones I want to share up.
A couple days ago, Rick Lesser of the Hermitage, and Skee Stanley, of Cachugua Fire sent me some photos to share with my readers, but I haven’t had time until now (at 3 am) to post.
First, Skee’s shot. This is a closer look at the Hermitage from a perspective only a dozer operator would have.
And here is one from Rick Lesser taken from the Hermitage Road that demonstrates that peace has again descended on the Hermitage.
Skee Stanley sent me some others, not of the Hermitage, that I will keep for the archives of the Chalk Fire. With rain expected this weekend, and the Chalk Fire finally contained, this momentous Summer of Fire is finally over. Fall has arrived, and with it, winter preparations.
I took a short trip to The City this past weekend, to present at a seminar for other lawyers. I drove out the back way (N-F Rd) as when I left Friday morning, Highway One was still closed by rock slides from the Fire. I came back via Highway One. These two routes have both been extremely impacted by the fires of this summer, and will present significant challenges in keeping them open this winter. So what has been a life-changing summer will segue into an interesting winter.
I plan on keeping this blog “alive” throughout the winter, to both document and record the antics of Mother Nature as she laughingly brings us together as a community, and yet separates us into enclaves without access.
At some point, however, I hope to redirect this blog away from catastrophe reporting, and morph it into something more uplifting and spiritual, to reflect the beauty of this place called, “The Big South.”
Tonight, I leave you with a photograph I took on January 1, 2007. I call it “Fairy Habitat.” It is what I see and feel here on the South Coast of Big Sur. That magic that Mother Nature shows us, if we are paying attention.
At last, it seems as if the Chalk is finally done with the South Coast. We are 97% contained, no real growth to speak of, and I am just about ready to put this baby to bed … at least until winter rains.
But before I do, I have a few last things to say, and one more photo to post, sent by my friend, Skee Stanley of Cachagua Fire.
First, I want to say it has been an honor to be able to serve my community by way of this blog. With the Basin Fire, there were a number of people and organizations who were able to share information. With the Chalk Fire, not so many. We are few and far between down here. Despite that, we are close.
So many people have visited this blog since the Chalk Fire broke out on Sept. 27, 2008, almost a month ago, and so many people shared information and photos with me so that I could share them with you. I was oft times just the conduit. I have tried to mention them in the body of my blog all along, unless they wished to remain anonymous, but this blog was truly a community effort. That community encompasses so many more than the few people who actually live here on the South Coast, as we all know.
Our BSVFB has to be specially recognized. These men and women are all volunteers who have families and jobs. Their abilities were tested to the maximum with too many fires to even list, if we go beyond the “big” ones.
Our local organizations, CPOA, Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Pelican Network, and others, showed their support for their neighbors to the south in so many ways. We cannot thank you enough! CPOA has been a moving force at raising money to support those who were affected by both the Basin and the Chalk Fires.
And the firefighters … ah, the firefighters. These men and women, whether on the ground, in the air, or in engines, they worked all summer and well into fall for us. I feel a special kinship to all of them. They have always been heroes. I just feel the need to let them know, whenever and wherever I see them.
I ran into a fire fighter on South Coast Ridge Rd. yesterday. I was chasing him down, as he was driving a Jeep with Colorado plates, and I worried we had another ding bat in the closed portion of the forest. He got out, in USFS ff uniform, and I apologized and introduced myself. “I am bigsurkate,” I said. “Hey, my mom reads your blog all the time,” he said. And my heart jumped. I think I have connected to more firefighter moms and dads than anyone else, and to them, I say, “Your sons and daughters are a special breed. I know you are proud of them. We are, too.”
Dave Potter, our Monterey County Supervisor, John Laird, our State Assemblyman, and Sam Farr, our U.S. Senator, have all been instrumental in gathering support for our plight in the political arena, and we are so very grateful for your support and care.
The Hermitage and the Zen Center, have both been impacted, tremendously. They have lost most of the income which sees them through the year. They both have support groups outside this small community, and I know all of you are helping them through these tough times. Please support them in whatever way you can.
We will need each other again, as the winter rains isolate our 90 mile community into pockets. We are preparing for physical isolation, but we know we are not alone. We are part of a grander and larger community that will be there for one another. I have always felt as if Big Sur was a microcosm of the larger whole. We will have the opportunity to demonstrate that this winter.
Please support your favorite branch of the Big Sur Community in whatever way you can.
And, here is another community “sharing” by our favorite dozer operators, courtesy, Skee Stanley. This was taken on Wednesday up above the Hermitage. You can actually see the Hermitage in a way *I* never have!! Thank you for sharing this, Skee!!
So, what this tells me is that when Cal-Trans is working, dawn to dusk, the road is open. Once they go home at night, all bets are off, and you travel at your own risk. PLEASE be careful if you come through after dark. This is a highly volatile and dangerous situation!
Highway 1 is open! This information came from Danny Milsap, Caltrans Supervisor for south coast, as of 7:35 AM this morning – Saturday, October 25, 2008.
Highway Closed again tonight until tomorrow. Another rock slide. So, boys and girls, this is a touch and go situation.
HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF LUCIA REOPENS TODAY
MONTEREY COUNTY – Caltrans will reopen a three-mile section of Hwy. 1
between Nacimiento-Ferguson Road, about 27 miles south of Big Sur, and
Lucia, about 23 miles south of Big Sur, at 3 pm today, Friday, Oct. 24.
This section had been closed due to the Chalk fire since 7 pm on Wednesday,
Provided there are no other fire incidents/adverse conditions, the road will
remain open but is subject to traffic control or closures if conditions
Here are some photos supplied by Cal-Trans:
The Volcano!! Connie got a great shot of this the other day, but unfortunately, her computer ate it!
Look where the rocks are in relation to the yellow line!
And lookey here … we have fire sliding down onto the road!!
Kudos to Cal-Trans for sharing these, and for getting the road open today. Thanks, Danny, Richard, Angie, Phil, and Mike!!
And tonight, it finally looks like it is over. Of course, I remember I said that once before, but this time, I really mean it! Now let’s see if Mother Nature agrees with me!!
Here is part of tonight’s inciweb report:
“Crews will continue mop up and improve existing line along the Hermitage Road to Highway 1. Mop up around structures and improvements in Limekiln State Park. Begin to clean up and remove hose. The Evacuation Warning for Hermitage has been down graded to and Evacuation Watch as of 6:00pm tonight. The Evacuation Watch for the Harlan Ranch and Morning Glory area was lifted as of 6:00pm on October 23, 2008”
Okay, here’s today’s report on the Ever Ready Fire. From my perch, all is very quiet. I saw no “glow” last night, anywhere, and this morning, there is no smoke, to speak of. Very quiet, peaceful day. From what I can tell from the Cal-Trans and CHP sites, Highway One is still closed as of 9:00 am this morning, but expected to open by this evening. Maybe we’ll be lucky, and it will open sooner.
Acres burned: 16,269
Miles of fireline to build: 1.5
Date started: 9/27/08 (evening)
Percent contained: 93%
Expected containment: 10/28/2008
Firefighter injuries to date: 19
Structures threatened: 49
Structures destroyed: 0
Suppression cost to date: $21.9 million
Air tankers: 0
Total personnel assigned: 667
Current Status:Yesterday’s firing operation in the Limekiln area was very successful. In the morning, the fire was moving very slowly, and rocks and debris were falling onto Highway 1, resulting in the closure of the highway.Had the fire been allowed to move at its own pace, Highway 1 would likely have been closed for another 5 days.The Incident Commander decided to introduce fire to speed up the completion of the burn so that the highway could be reopened sooner. Caltrans expects to reopen the highway by the end of today, providing there are no other fire incidents or adverse conditions.Last night, no fire activity was observed and crews kept a watchful eye on all constructed lines north of Nacimiento-Fergusson Road.
Today’s Objectives: Provide for firefighter and public safety, keep the fire east of Hermitage Road and hold the fire on the ridge south of Gamboa Ridge.
Evacuations:On October 17, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department issued an Evacuation Warning for Limekiln State Park north to the New Camaldoli Hermitage. Approximately 9 residents are within the evacuation area. This stage of Evacuation Warning is given for affected areas where there is imminent threat to life and property. Persons who receive notification of this warning should evacuate in accordance with the direction given to them by Sheriff’s Department Deputies who are on scene. This Evacuation Warning is still in effect.
The Evacuation Watch for Lucia north to Lopez Pointwas lifted at 6:00 p.m. yesterday.
And from Dave Potter’s Office:
Supervisors Dave Potter and Simón Salinas
urge your attendance at one
of three community meetings being held
so you can learn more about what you need
to know, and do, as a resident of the affected burn areas.
Len Nielson of CAL FIRE,
Team Leader on the
preparation of the SEAT Report,
will be present to answer questions.
Federal, state and local officials will also be in
attendance to give information and to answer questions.
The Big Sur Area meeting will be held Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at the Big Sur Lodge from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Refreshments will be served.
This is the agenda:
1.Welcome Sup. Dave Potter and Sup. SimonSalinas
3.Presentation of SEAT Report on Basin Complex Fire Len Nielson,
And Impacts to Community from Winter StormsCALFIRE
4.Brief Presentations on Winter Storm Preparedness by:
·Monterey County Office of Emergency Services
·Monterey County Sheriff’s Department
·National Weather Service
·Monterey County Water Resources Agency
·American Red Cross
·The SPCA of Monterey County
·Monterey County Resource Management Agency
5.Questions and Answers
That’s all folks. I’ve got places to go and people to see.