10:00 pm – last update for the evening. The storm is pretty much over, but we can still expect up to another inch of rain. I will update my rain totals in the morning. This was posted to NOAA discussion:
AS OF 9:20 PM PDT TUESDAY…RADAR AND SATELLITE SHOW RAIN HAS ENDED ACROSS THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA WHILE AN UPPER LEVEL JET MAX HAS HELPED TO KEEP THE RAIN GOING FROM THE SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS SOUTH. THESE RAINS WILL TAPER OFF LATER THIS EVENING AS THE JET MAX MOVES INLAND. AN UPPER LEVEL LOW OFF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST WILL LIFT NORTHEAST ON WEDNESDAY. THIS WILL KEEP A CHANCE FOR SHOWERS OVER THE DISTRICT THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
MANY PLACES EXCEEDED THE ONE-DAY RAINFALL TOTALS SET BY THE COLUMBUS
DAY STORM OF 1962. THE RAINFALL TODAY IN DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO…
2.49 INCHES…BEAT THE PREVIOUS RECORD HELD BY THE STORM IN 1962
WHICH WAS 1.80 INCHES. OVERALL RAINFALL TOTALS HAVE BEEN VERY
IMPRESSIVE OVER THE AREA WITH UP TO 6 INCHES IN THE NORTH BAY
MOUNTAINS AND 6-10 INCHES IN THE SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS. THE GREATEST
RAIN AMOUNTS WERE IN THE SANTA LUCIA MOUNTAINS WITH MINING RIDGE
RECEIVING 18.74 INCHES IN THE PAST 24 HOURS. THE RAIN CAUSED SOME
SMALL RIVERS IN THE SANTA CRUZ AND SANTA LUCIA MOUNTAINS TO
BRIEFLY EXCEED FLOOD STAGE CAUSING MINOR FLOODING AND SLIDES.
A WEATHER SPOTTER REPORTED FLOODING IN DOWNTOWN MORGAN HILL.
RAINFALL HAS TAPERED OFF OVER THE DISTRICT AND THE THREAT OF
FLOODING APPEARS TO BE OVER. HOWEVER WE CAN STILL EXPECT UP TO
ANOTHER INCH OF RAIN TONIGHT IN THE SANTA LUCIA MOUNTAINS WITH UP
TO ONE-QUARTER INCH ELSEWHERE.
9:00 pm update – I am one, but I am only one. The news, blogs, and emails have turned me into a whirling dervish today, but you can still get updates and help each other out by checking the comment section to this post. Firefox just posted a recon and warning for example. If you’ve never posted before, it has to go through moderation, first, but anyone who has posted, and has not changed their email, can post directly. Let’s use this community bulletin board to keep each other informed and safe. And with that, I bid my beloved Coast good night. Warm and Dry Hugs to all.
8:30 pm – PG & E is informing the SP that power MAY not be restored until 9 pm tomorrow night in the Big Sur Valley.
7:30 pm – I went out one last time to dump the rain gauge (which was at 3 inches since the last dump) to find another inch in an hour, for a total of 12 inches. Mark Readdie of Big Creek sent me the link for the Big Sur River real-time levels, which I added to the El Niño links, and he also send me this message re: Big Creek: “Yes, it’s at half of it’s maximum height since 1951.
A good historical data set is here for the Big Sur River: historical data
You can see the big floods in 1975, 95 and 98. We’re getting up there!”
From Rain at the SP: “The Big Sur has reached flood stage. 10.6 ft and counting as of 7:30. It is over the banks at Andrew Molera and into the picnic area and parking lot. . At Pfeiffer it is flowing okay now. Most of our problems there are as a result of the Redwood Creek not holding all the water and mud. We have been moving dump trucks full out of the culvert all day with Cal Trans. I’ll have a better idea of where we are in the morning when we have more light. We have had rocks coming down on the day use road most of the day.”
Another reliable source has the Big Sur River level at 11.5. Regardless, it is at flood level.
6:30 pm – another 1/2 inch. Total, 11 inches.
6:00 pm. I have recorded ANOTHER 1 and 1/2 inches since I dumped the gauge at 4:30, taking me up to 10.5 for the storm. That means we are continuing at the 1/2 inch per 1/2 hour rate we have been at since 1:30 this afternoon. Oh, my! Mining Ridge got almost 13 inches by 5 pm. Still blowing and still raining HARD!
Okay, it is official. Road closed, at least temporarily. CHP is indicating, not “closed” just subject to long delays. The Chamber of Commerce describes these incidents as “road hazards.” Political speak, both lanes are blocked, but the road is not “closed?” Give me a break. I understand the businesses not wanting it stated that the road is closed, but a friend who works in the tourist industry wrote me about the tourists cars that have had flats or have been totaled by boulders. People from out of the area don’t have a clue as to what is going on, and I think it is irresponsible of us to try to bring tourists here when it is so damn dangerous right now.
MM 37 is Tin House Rd. or about a mile south of Partington Cove.
Incident: 0937 Type: Mud, Dirt or Rock Slide Location: SR1 MM 37 ThomasBrothers: 1303 5J info as of: 10/13/2009 5:04:09 PM
4:15PM 1039 CAL TRANS
4:14PM BOTH LANES BLKD
RESPONDING OFFICERS STATUS
4:15PM CHP Unit On Scene
4:30 pm – a little less than 1/2 inch the past 1/2 hour, bringing the total for the storm up to 9 inches, up here on Top o’ the World. I need to empty the rain gauge for the evening, and then start over, again.
From one of my trusted sources: “This is a mad crazy storm… all of downtown Monterey is out of power and the manhole covers have become water fountains!” Gotta laugh at that image, huh?
4:00 pm – a little over 1/2 inch the past 1/2 hour. Now at 8.6 inches for the storm. While there are reports the road is a mess, all undoubtedly true, and that the rockfall drapery is not holding in places (unconfirmed, but a reliable source), there has been no “official” word of a closure, as of yet. However, those of you familiar with this road know that Cal-Trans stops working at dark, and that any travel after dark is extremely dangerous. That is even more so tonight than during most storms, due to the intensity of this one. Remember, that 10.2 inches on Mining Ridge will be flowing down hill, and with little vegetation, it could take down the hillside, covering the road and any traveling vehicles.
3:30 pm – another 1/2 inch in a 1/2 hour, bringing the total up to 8 inches. Big Creek reports 10.2 on Mining Ridge. Extreme differences depending on one’s position relative to the storm. I have heard of as little as 1/2 inch in one location.
3:00 pm – if you are following my blog at all today, you know my rain started increasing from 1/2 inch an hour to an inch every hour. That started between 1:30 and 2:00 pm, and has continued ever since. I got an inch this past hour, bringing my storm total up to 7 and 1/2 inches. NOAA just reissued the FLASH FLOOD WARNING ALERT!!
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA HAS ISSUED A * FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR FLASH FLOODING AND DEBRIS FLOWS FOR… MONTEREY COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA… THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF…TASSAJARA HOT SPRINGS…LUCIA… JAMESBURG…GORDA…BIG SUR VILLAGE…ARROYO SECO… * UNTIL 645 PM PDT * AT 239 PM PDT… NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED HEAVY RAIN MOVING OVER THE AREA WITH ADDITIONAL ECHOES OVER THE PACIFIC APPROACHING THE AREA. AUTOMATED GAUGES HAVE ALSO SHOWN AN INCREASE IN RAINFALL RATES. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… MUD SLIDES AND ROCK SLIDES CAN POTENTIALLY TRAP AND KILL PEOPLE CAUGHT IN THEIR PATH. ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN THE WARNED AREA.
2:19 pm – This just in from the Monterey Office of Emergency Services:
“The County is reacting well to the current storm. We are not currently working any major events, have experienced only one closed road (now reopened), and sporadic, limited power outages affecting around 5000 residents. We just passed through a period of less rainfall in the early afternoon but will see increasingly heavy rain peaking around 5pm.”
And this from NOAA:
AS OF 2:10 PM PDT TUESDAY…LATEST RADAR DATA SHOW THAT THE HEAVY RAINS HAD DECREASED SOMEWHAT OVERALL EARLIER THIS AFTERNOON…HOWEVER LATEST SCANS NOW SHOW RENEWED ACTIVITY OCCURRING AND SETTING OFF OFFSHORE. IT LOOKS LIKE THE AREA IS SET FOR ANOTHER PERIOD OF POTENTIALLY HEAVY RAIN BEGINNING NOW AND EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH EARLY EVENING ACROSS THE DISTRICT. THE HIGHEST RAINFALL AMOUNTS ARE ONCE AGAIN EXPECTED IN THE SANTA CRUZ AND SANTA LUCIA MOUNTAIN RANGE. RAINFALL TOTALS THUS FAR HAVE BEEN QUITE
SUBSTANTIAL IN THE COASTAL RANGES WITH 5-6 INCHES STORM TOTAL…WITH
THE HIGHEST AMOUNT MINING RIDGE IN MONTEREY COUNTY MEASURING OVER 9
INCHES IN THE LAST 24 HOURS.
THE LATEST QPF FROM THE RIVER FORECAST CENTER GIVES AN ADDITIONAL 2
TO 4 INCHES TO THE DISTRICT THROUGH 11 PM TONIGHT WITH THE HIGHER
AMOUNTS EXPECTED TO FALL IN THE COASTAL MOUNTAINS ONCE AGAIN. THE
FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH MIDNIGHT FOR WITHIN AND
DOWN STREAM OF FIRE SCARED AREAS IN MONTEREY…SANTA CRUZ AND SAN
2:00 pm – 6 and 1/2 inches for the storm. I see I am now getting 1/2 inch in 1/2 hour, as opposed to 1/2 inch an hour. That’s not good.
1:30 pm – I am up to 6 inches for the storm. Winds still quite active. Incident JSO Big Sur was a van full of people that was getting hit by falling rocks. Tourons without a clue, is my guess.
1:00 pm – Friend in town reports Highway 68 is closed. Unknown where. Trees down everywhere in town. She was supposed to travel between Salinas and Pacific Grove. Unknown if she got stuck as she sent me the email via a friend in France. Ain’t technology great?
12:30 pm – Rain Greenleaf writes: “I am tracking the rain gauge at Andrew Molera and I am up to 3.46. It is coming down pretty steady….The flood management team with OES sent down over 5K sand bags to me yesterday to assist and I want to try and get them out to the local community. If any one is in need I have them at the Pfeiffer shop right now but I would like to get some staged between possible isolation zones.”
I am suggesting to Rain Coast Gallery/Deetjen’s and/or Henry Miller for a south location. Stan Russell is trying to keep up with the sand bag issue, so see his blog to the right under blogroll.
Also: “Representatives from the Flood operation Center will be in Big Sur to offer assistance to any one who needs it. You can contact them at 1-800-952-5530 or 1-916-574-2619.”
Noon update: Another 1/2 inch this past hour, for a total of 5 inches. There have been a few short lulls in the wind, but they are short lived. Reported from the Valley: “Juan Higuera is running. Black and high but still in it’s banks. State Parks have kicked all the campers out of Molera and Pfeiffer….UPS driver says Highlands is a mess.”
11:00 am my rain gauge blew over at approximately 4 and 1/2 inches, dumping itself. I have resecured it, I hope. Winds up here are gusting to right around 100 mph. Pfeiffer Ridge (Anne Ashley) is reporting 1/2 inch an hour since 4 am and gusts of 60 mph.
Nexrad SFO radar link
Here’s a quick capture from the above link:
10:00 am – rain gauge righted and secured, shows 3 and 1/2 inches from storm. And, from the most recent NOAA discussion:
AS OF 9:20 AM PDT TUESDAY…RAIN AND WIND ARE STARTING TO PICK UP ACROSS THE DISTRICT AS A POWERFUL PACIFIC STORM BEARS DOWN ON THE COAST. RAINFALL RATES HAVE INCREASED WITH 3-HOURLY RATES OF OVER 1.5 INCHES COMMON OVER THE SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS…PORTIONS OF MARIN COUNTY AS WELL AS GAUGES IN THE SANTA LUCIAS. A FLASH FLOOD WARNING WAS ISSUED EARLIER FOR THE AREA NEAR THE LOCKHEED BURN AREA AND WAS EXTENDED UNTIL NOON AS RAINFALL RATES CONTINUE TO RISE IN THAT AREA. A FLASH FLOOD WARNING WAS ALSO ISSUED FOR THE BIG
SUR COAST NEAR THE BURN SCAR AREAS. THIS WILL BE IN EFFECT UNTIL 11:45 AM.
9:30 am – I have power and am back up. Flash flood warning up over the airwaves about 9 am, power out in Big Sur Valley, and will go on to check out the rest of the conditions. It is HOWLING here, raining like crazy. Nasty, nasty storm!
CHP is reporting so many problems, I can’t count that high. Santa Cruz, Monterey, everywhere but Big Sur — so far.
8:30 am – I am conserving battery power, so if you have a story to tell, a warning to give, please post it in the comments section below. Send any photos to me directly, and I will post when back online. I will check back in a couple hours or so and at some point, get the power up and running so I can continue updates throughout the day. Oh, and I am up to 2 inches of rain for the storm, so that’s a gain of 1/2 inch the last hour.
8:00 am – I received this message from Dave Allen, a teacher at Pacific Valley School, about his attempted commute from Carmel to the South Coast:
I attempted to drive to school this morning and the conditions are absolutely life-threatening. Even by my standards as a crazy commercial fisherman and 20-year veteran of the 55 mile commutes along the entire Big Sur coast during all those storms, rockslides, boulders and stuff…the conditions today are “over the top”. At Carmel Highlands, there are already large fallen branches blocking sections of the road. I got as far as Garrapata Creek, and the wind hit hurricane strength (no exxageration). My truck very nearly got capsized by the wind force, and I had to do a vary scary u-turn between gusts. Also, my truck’s wheels were hydroplaning even at 30 mph from about 5-6″ of water across the road, being blown to a white froth. This wind froth completely obscured the highway and shoulder, almost like snow. It looked just like hurricane photos. Sorry I could not get photos, because it was still dark, and I am not going back out in such dangerous conditions.
Raeanna closed school fot today, I reached Joyce Duffy, and she said that it is so frightening that she is taking cover in her classroom as large tree branches are falling and debris is blowing across the school grounds with deadly projectile force.
So, I advise to everybody in Big Sur…STAY OFF THE ROAD!”
Sorry these sat pics are so small, but you get the idea we have a monster on our hands:
7:30 am – the winds have blown my rain gauge off-kilter, so difficult to read, but it appears to indicate I’ve received 1.5 inches. I will set all right when I go out to fill and start the gennie, hopefully during a lull … if such a thing ever comes today!!
7:00 am – per CHP website, traffic hazards — trees, wires, electrical, down in many areas, but nothing reported yet for Highway One here in Big Sur. This is only going to get worse throughout the day today, boys and girls, so be safe! Stay in, if you can.
6:30 am – The storm has really picked up in the last hour here, in town, and in Big Sur proper, according to my early morning reporters. NOAA discussion has this to say:
AS OF 3:15 AM PDT TUESDAY…RAIN AND WIND ARE STARTING
TO PICK UP ACROSS THE DISTRICT AS A POWERFUL PACIFIC STORM BEARS DOWN
ON THE COAST. SATL IMAGERY IS INDC THAT CLOUD TOPS ARE RAPIDLY
ENHANCING AND COOLING OFF THE CA COAST AS A 150 KT JET STREAK HAS NOW
REACHED 37/130. THIS HAS RAPIDLY INCREASED THE UPPER LEVEL
DIFFLUENCE…WHICH IS THE REASON FOR THE RAPID STRENGTHENING AS SEEN
ON SATL IMAGERY. AMSU IMAGERY IS INDC TPW VALUES OF GREATER THAN 1.5
INCHES JUST OFF THE COAST…NEAR 34/127. AMSU IMAGERY IS INDC
RAINFALL RATES AS OF 06Z OF 0.3 INCHES/HR NEAR 38/128. SINCE THE
CLOUD TOPS HAVE BEEN COOLING AND ENHANCING RAINFALL RATES HAVE
RAIN AND WIND WILL CONTINUE TO INCREASE EARLY THIS MORNING…WITH
LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN DURING THE DAY AND INTO THE EVENING HOURS. THE
HEAVY RAIN HAS THE POTENTIAL FOR FLASH FLOODING AND LOCAL DEBRIS
FLOWS FROM THE FIRE SCAR AREAS IN SANTA CRUZ…MONTEREY…AND SAN
BENITO COUNTIES. A FLASH FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR THESE AREAS
THROUGH THE EVENING HOURS (PLEASE SEE SFOFFAMTR OR WGUS66 KMTR FOR
DETAILED INFORMATION). EXPECTED RAINFALL TOTALS ARE FROM 1 TO 3
INCHES ALONG THE COAST AND IN THE VALLEYS…3 TO 6 INCHES IN THE
MOUNTAINS…AND UP TO 8 INCHES IN OROGRAPHICALLY FAVORED MOUNTAINS IN
SANTA CRUZ AND MONTEREY COUNTIES. MODELS ARE HINTING THAT THE FRONT
WILL SLOW DOWN THIS EVENING IN THE VICINITY OF SANTA CRUZ COUNTY…
WHICH COULD PROLONG THE HEAVY RAIN FROM SANTA CRUZ SOUTH.
WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO RAPIDLY INCREASE THIS MORNING AS THE GRADIENT
CONTINUES TO TIGHTEN. THE GRADIENT BETWEEN ARCATA-SANTA BARBARA IS
EXPECTED TO RAMP UP TO OVER 20 MB THIS AFTN. THIS COMBINED WITH A 55-
65 KT LLJ AT 925 MB WILL BRING STRONG GUSTY WINDS TO THE DISTRICT.
HIGH WIND WARNINGS/WIND ADVISORIES REMAIN IN EFFECT TIL 11 PM TONIGHT
(PLEASE SEE SFONPWMTR OR WWUS76 KMTR FOR DETAILED INFORMATION).
12 thoughts on “Storm Watch, 10/13/09”
Winds began picking up in the night here in Carmel. Light rain so far.
Power is out, no surprise there. Love our generators. The whole Valley is buzzing away. Just Molly n’ me hanging in the office. Boys out checking drainages at various spots. Flash flood warning just went off on the scanner.
Our rain gauge got an inch now, 3 hours later, but with the wind so intense (60 mph gusts), the rain is coming down sideways, and probably half of the rain is missing the gauge mouth. So, I estimate the actual 3-hour rainfall for now to be 1.5 inches. The winds show no abatement. Several nearby trees are down.
Mining ridge is showing 10.3 inches at 3pm.
One of our fire fighters is indicating that the rock nets at Big Creek have failed and the rocks are tumbling out on the road. No official closure there, nor at Grimes where rocks are also reported in the north bound lanes. I was urged to let Mary at Coast Gallery know the current conditions. We have not has any pages concerning the road so far, only fire alarms due to the power outage.
Mining Ridge recorded 12.91 inches at 17:00 hours.
Wow. Looks like a hell of a storm, Kate. Maybe a classic Big Sur “3-day blow”. Maybe this year will be the start of a repeat of the early-mid 80s – the models definitely show this as a monster El Nino year. Difficulties aside, I envy you the excitement.
I was seeing RV’s towing cars heading north late this afternoon, when it was so windy that I was blown off course just walking to my car!
This does not look good. You take care.
I checked the river at the Lodge and at the Pub. It is flowing very fast but within it’s banks and still about 6 ft below the parking lot at the Pub. Redwood Creek may be a problem tonight for folks leaving work so make sure to be careful when you get to the bridge at the Lodge. Rain much reduced here. I am at 8 2/10th approx.
Mining Ridge @ 21:00 18.03 inches
Correction: The historical link for real time stream height is for the Big Sur River, not Big Creek. I wish we were automated like that but alas, no. I have to watch it myself or download the data later. Big Creek is probably running at about 800-1000 cfps tonight. Stream height went from 1.4 ft to 5.5 ft today. Not the Big Sur but still, it’s pretty impressive to have going by 30 feet behind the house!