Storm update, 3/19/18

I thought Santa Barbara was in the bull’s eye, but it looks like we might be, starting tomorrow morning. From NOAA: (NOTE THE MOST IMPORTANT INFO FOR US IS THE LAST PARAGRAPH.)

“Models have remained rather consistent bringing the first moisture push to the region early Tuesday. Light to moderate rain is on track to develop Tuesday morning along the Big Sur Coast and then spread northward through the day. As light to moderate rain spreads north, moderate to heavy rain is expected to develop over
the Big Sur Coast/Santa Lucias Tuesday afternoon as low level increases and higher PWATs slam into 5k ft peaks. The moderate to heavy rain will likely cause some minor hydro issues along the Big Sur Coast with creek rises, ponding and possible low end flooding at this time. The lower confidence part of the forecast is where this intense plume of moisture sets up. Current forecast/model guidance keeps it at Big Sur, but if it shifts just 30-50 miles north it could be a different ballgame and Santa Cruz Mts could
get dumped on. That solution is less likely, but still wanted to mention it. Winds will also increase out of the south Tuesday into Wednesday. Winds will be strongest along the coast and higher coastal peaks with gusts 30-40 mph….

Heaviest rainfall is still slated for Tuesday morning throughThursday morning with pulses of moisture. Only minor tweaks to previous rainfall, but Big Sur Coast will see the most. Rainfall amounts are anticipated to range from 0.75″ to 1.50″ in most urban
areas with 1.00″ to 3.00″ in the North Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains and 2.00″ to 5.00″ in the Santa Lucia Mountains above the Big Sur Coast. Could see isolated amounts upwards of 8.00-10.00″ along the southwest facing coastal slopes of Monterey County (Mining Ridge/Chalk Peak).” (Ed. Note: that’s from Big Creek south to the Chimney Slide areas, so look for potential problems at the usual culprits:Cow Cliffs, Paul’s Slide and Chimney Slide. I cannot even guess what will happen at Mud Creek.)


Misc notes, 3/19/18

1. Today’s Cal Trans update was a repeat of the last few months, nothing has changed. Paul’s Slide is still one way controlled, Mud Creek is still closed. They sent a new photo taken on Friday at Paul’s Slide. Note all the nice new asphalt … just in time for the floods of the next few days.


2. There will not be a Tourist Tuesday tomorrow, as I have cleared the deck for storm watch for the next few days so that I can keep an eye on the storm & the road and report on anything you need to know. Perhaps next week. Mandatory & Voluntary Evacuations have been issued for the burn areas of the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara. As of Monday night, they appear to be in the bull’s eye, but SLO and South Coast Big Sur will be getting hit hard as well. Road closure is enevitable…only question is for how long. Even the where is pretty well known. Stay tuned and stay safe.

Atmospheric River coming, 3/19/18

This does not bode well for any of us, but particularly for the fire areas of Santa Barbara. Time to get prepared. The rest of us will be slammed here on the Central and Southern Coasts, but oh, man, Santa Barbara County, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Please pack up and get out today.


By Daniel Swain of Weather West: “Upcoming storm event actually concerns me more than Jan 9 event, which resulted in the devastating #Montecito debris flow event downstream of #ThomasFire burn scar. It will be prolonged, and likely intense. Those in evacuation zones should leave Monday.#SantaBarbara #CAwx #CAfire”

From NWS-LA: “A significant storm system still on track to bring rain to #SoCal Tue-Thu! Flash flooding possible in many areas, flooding& debris flows possible near recent burn areas. #CAstorm #Cawx”



And from John Lindsey’s (SLO report): “At this time, total rainfall amounts of between 4 and 6 inches with higher amounts in the Santa Lucia Mountains is expected. Between 4 and 8 inches of rain could fall in the burn areas of Santa Barbara & Ventura counties
on Tuesday into Thursday. This potential situation will be to be monitored closely. snow levels will remain above 7,500 feet.”

Again, Daniel Swain: “”5σ PW anomalies” translates to “huge amount of water vapor in the column of air above your head, of a magnitude that is historically rare.” This is why there is so much concern regarding #ThomasFire burn scar in #SantaBarbara and #Ventura. #AtmosphericRiver

Note the following predictions are for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, posted in order. Mon Dieu!