Photo Sunday, 1/31/21 — Things that brought me joy

This week, the thing that brought me the most joy was community. The South Coast, the Wild Coast, has a community unlike any other I’ve ever known. We were hit the hardest down here in the Santa Lucia Mountains, hidden away in the back country, where neighbors live miles apart. Chalk Peak, the primary way off the mountain for many of us was hit with well over 10” in a 24-hour period and at least 15” over 48 hours. Winds howled. Trees fell. Rocks and mudslides covered roads. We don’t have a road crew available. Los Burros, Plaskett, Nacimiento, and South Coast Ridge Road were trashed. We didn’t call anyone, because there is no one to call and no one would or could respond. (County might, eventually) We got to work clearing roads, cutting downed trees, and checking on neighbors.

Two neighbors, Tom Collins and Colleen Wilson are a team that just got busy and got to work Friday, clearing South Coast Ridge Road, What normally takes 1/2 hour or so to drive, took seven hours to get from Alm’s Ridge to Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. This is their story.

Hi All –
Sorry for the tardy reply but we just arrived home after leaving about 10 am. It took us about 7 hrs to reach NF Rd from Alm’s.

  • We cut 10 – 12 trees
  • Removed rock at Chalk Peak – enough to get by. We took my Outlander but Tom’s 350 would not get thru. Lots of rock slides. Maybe getting some people together we could clear in a few hours. Very icy on the asphalt. Be careful thru this area – there’s about 6-8 ft where the asphalt fell away & the side is very soft. We put a orange cone to mark that area.
  • Alm’s & Prewitt are pretty good, road wise.
  • Lots of debris, mud & dirt across much of the road north of the asphalt all the way to NF. Some places have deep sludge & ruts but I got thru without a problem. Very rough in some places – Tom calls this Alluvium. We sure could use the Fort to clear for us! Tom is guessing the Fort could clean up everything in a day between NF & Prewitt.

Once we arrived at South Coast & NF Rd – we saw 3 BIG trees across the road leading towards the Naci Station so going to Paso is out unless the county shows up soon. We did not turn west towards Hwy 1.

Bottom line – you can get in the entire way from NF Rd. [to Alm’s Ridge]. There’s still logs that need to be moved but you can get thru.

Cheers –
Colleen & Tom

Chalk Peak — Tom doing some shovel work on the rock slides
Chalk Peak

Tom and Colleen, you are some badass South Coasters. Aren’t you glad you stayed for the winter instead of going sailing in the South Pacific like you often do every winter?

Today, Sunday, a crew of local guys were going to be trying to make their way up Nacimiento to South Coast Ridge Road, cutting downed trees, clearing slides and cleaning drains. However, after Katee’s photos of Naci, that may be abandoned.

After I posted these last two to FB and twitter and my blog, it was suggested I contact Katie Moon, so I sent them to her and she called me. I was able to provide information on where and what so she can share with her boss. I was also able to get ahold of the FHL road crew boss who gave me his cell years ago. He tried to come up today, but was blocked at the FHL/LPNF boundary, but will be trying again on Monday in a different, more versatile vehicle. County will be assessing then, too. Both are part of my community. Thank you both. Today, Mary Adams and Jimmy Panetta are meeting regarding federal assistance. Two more members of my tribe.

Friday, Billy and Ellen were able to cut through downed trees on Los Burros so that at least vehicles could get through, but it still needs a lot of clean-up. Brendon did the same on Plaskett, so he can get in and out, but it isn’t pretty.

This is my community of which I am so proud. I am so honored that they accepted me into it 31 years ago. A reporter asked me on Friday why I lived here with all the fires, slides, road closures and everything. I told him because of community. There isn’t a better one anywhere else. What I didn’t tell him was that I lived here because this is where the Goddess lives and she whispers to me and blesses me every day.

Cal Trans update on the Rat Creek slip out, 1/29/21

Date:Friday, January 29, 2021 at 6:30 pm
District:05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties
Contact:Kevin Drabinski or Jim Shivers
Phone:(805) 549-3138 or (805) 549-3237
  
  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UPDATE #2

SECTION OF HIGHWAY 1 WASHES OUT AT RAT CREEK ON BIG SUR COAST

MONTEREY and SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTIES – A debris flow from the hillside above Rat Creek on Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast overwhelmed drainage infrastructure, flowed across the highway, and eroded the road resulting in the complete loss of a segment of Highway 1 at that location.

Rat Creek is located at PM 30.2 and is two miles south of the Esalen Institute. It is about 1 mile south of the origin of the Dolan Fire in the Dolan Canyon area of Big Sur and is within the burn scar area.

On Thursday Jan. 28, Caltrans crews, working from the north doing a post rainstorm assessment of the roadway, discovered debris flow across the highway at Rat Creek. Before dark on Thursday, the lane on the coast side of the road had washed out.

On Thursday evening, Caltrans entered into a $5 million emergency contract with Papich Construction of San Luis Obispo County to assist with repair of the highway slide out.

On Friday Jan. 29, Caltrans assessment crews and emergency contractors arrived at daybreak to discover that both lanes of the highway had washed out.

At this point the damage assessment team has not issued a report on today’s findings and will continue to work this weekend. The current closure of Highway 1 from Ragged Point to Fuller’s Point just south of Deetjen’s Big Sur in remains in effect.

Businesses on Highway 1 from Carmel to Big Sur and south to the full closure remain open.

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

Drone Footage by @CaltransD5 of Rat Creek

Storm Report, 1/29/21

1 pm — And from Cal Trans:

Highway 1: Camaldoli Hermitage – Big Creek Bridge: February 2 – Big Creek Bridge  
There will be alternating lane closures on northbound and southbound Highway 1 from the Camaldoli Hermitage to Big Creek Bridge for work along the shoulder of the highway from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (let me be so bold as to suggest that they may be wanting to check and clean the drains)

Highway 1: Camaldoli Hermitage – Big Creek Bridge: February 2 – Big Creek Bridge  
There will be alternating lane closures on northbound and southbound Highway 1 from the Camaldoli Hermitage to Big Creek Bridge for work along the shoulder of the highway from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Nadine and Dan’s grandson, Clark, our local budding engineer, the bridge he submits for Cal Trans consideration:

7 am photo by Heath Johnston. This will be the headliner nationwide, already on Good Morning America in Delaware.

This one reminds me of the Rocky Creek slip out of 2011, but with less road. To revisit that one, go back in time here https://bigsurkate.blog/2011/03/17/highway-one-closure-indefinite/

6:00 am — It has been a wild ride the last few days, and even though it is still raining/drizzling, we have been through the worst of this storm and now have a few days before the next ones, which are predicted to be much milder. I will be adding to this post throughout the day, as I did yesterday. I do not expect to have an official report on the slip out at Rat Creek until afternoon, unless Dave gets out there and reports, unofficially.

First thing I note is the slide at Hurricane Point, about 50 feet long. Looks like it will probably be easy to clean up once Cal Trans is rolling at dawn.

Incident: 00041 Type: Mud/Dirt/Rock Location: SR1 S / HURRICANE POINT Loc Desc: SB 1 AT HURRICANE POINT Lat/Lon: 36.357222 -121.902500

Detail Information
6:08 AM4[7] FOOTBALL SIZE ROCKS ABOUT 50 FT LONG SCATTERED DOWN THE ROAD
6:07 AM3[6] Incident Re-opened: CT LL INQ ON HOW LARGE THE SLIDE IS AND FOR HOW LONG DOES IT GO? CONFIRM STILL 1125? THIS IS OUT SIDE THE CLOSURE AT MPM 44
6:04 AM2[5] NOTED IN BIG SUR CLOSURE LOG
6:03 AM1[4] 1039 DIST 5
Unit Information

These graphs were published last night, Note on the first graph, Three Peaks gauge was not working. It sat at the same numbers all day on Weds and Thurs. But note the highest rain received was at Chalk Peak here in the South Coast of Big Sur.

Highway One is closed to thru traffic

Header Photo, Rat Creek by Heath Johnston, Supervisor, Cal Trans Big Sur Station

It washed out at Rat Creek, at Mile Marker 30, south of Esalen, on Thursday, 1/28/21, and as of now there is no expected time line for repairing it. When there is, I will add it here. I am asked hundreds of times during slides where the slide is in relation to something else. The following link will answer that question for you.

7 am, 1/29/21 Photo by Heath Johnston

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.

There is a fascinating historical study of the road closures of Highway One in Big Sur contacted for by Cal Trans in 2000. It is well worth your time. History of Road Closures in Big Sur

Also, just a reminder that there is an entire page devoted to the history and information about Highway One. Here is the link: https://bigsurkate.blog/history-info-on-highway-one/

Highway 1 is gone

I just confirmed with Heath Johnstong, Cal Trans Supervisor for the Big Sur Station that indeed the Highway at Rat Creek has given way. I posted this photo from Dave Nelson this morning and it was quite concerning to me then. For those who don’t know where Rat Creek is, there is a mileage marker link to the right, under *Big Sur Road Conditions. Please check there before you ask me.

This is the photo Heath just posted to my FB page:

BY HEATH JOHNSTON, CAL TRANS, THIS EVENING
BY HEATH JOHNSTON, CAL TRANS
PHOTO BY JON KNIGHT, BIG SUR FIRE, THIS EVENING
BY DAVE NELSON THIS MORNING
BY DAVE NELSON, THIS MORNING

Storm Report, 1/28/21

Nacimiento-Fergusson road and Del Venturi on FHL

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Josh Wilson cleaning off Sycamore Canyon, photo by Marcus Foster

Report from the Indians:

We’ve had 17.4” since Tuesday eve

Here is pic of Milpitas Rd at Sycamore Creek just past road 5

Cheers, Jon Libby 

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Just 3 miles north of Rat Creek at MM 33 this is happening. First shot is yesterday before Cal Trans came through. The others are today.

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Rat Creek not looking good. Photos by Dave Nelson. That is Highway One it is flowing over.

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Carmel Lagoon. Photos by Rob B

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This is Cambria, which is a mess. Windsor Rd is flooded, the bridge is flooded, Burton, Ardath, Lodge Hill, many areas flooded or roads flooded. Below is Main St. And that looks like the Main St. Grill across the street. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

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This is the crossing at Sycamore Flats, photos by Peter Garin

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Cal Trans will have lane closures next week on Highway 1. Here is the notice:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HIGHWAY 1 IN CARMEL AND MONTEREY SUBJECT TO LANE CLOSURES TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY NEXT WEEK

MONTEREY COUNTY – Highway 1 in Carmel and Monterey will be subject to lane closures Tuesday through Thursday next week as Caltrans crews conduct maintenance work necessary to protect motorists over winter driving months.

Tuesday Feb. 2

Southbound Highway 1 in Carmel, the #2 (right) lane between Carmel Valley Rd. and Third Avenue, will be closed from 8:30 am and 2:30 pm for crews to conduct storm drainage cleaning.

Wednesday Feb. 3

Northbound Highway 1 in Monterey, the #2 (right) lane between Third Ave. and the Holman Hwy. offramp, will be closed from 8:30 am and 2:30 pm for storm drainage cleaning.

Thursday Feb. 4

Highway 1 in the Carmel Highlands at Highland Dr. will be subject to one-way traffic control in both directions from 8:30 amand 2:30 pm for crews to remove dead trees.

Motorists can expect delays of up to five minutes. CHP will be on hand to assist with traffic control. Message and directional signs will be in place to assist motorists traveling in the area.

*********************************************************************

6 am — I breathed a deep sign of relief when the wind stopped suddenly at 9:30 pm last night. Allowed a solid 7 hours of sleep, thankfully.

Still gathering data, but there is a hard closure on the 101 NB at Camphora Gloria due to flooding. There are houses being flooded at the Carmel River lagoon, Flood Warnings issued until 10 pm tonight for burn areas and other parts of the county,. And Chalk Peak is sitting at 8,23” for this last 24 hours.

Here are some photos of Highway 1 taken by Cal Trans yesterday. What a gooey mess.

More information throughout the day as I get it. Stay safe everyone.

Anderson Canyon debris flows

These are videos Jon Knight, Capt. Big Sur Fire took after he and his family evacuated their home and went to higher ground.

Highway One closure extended for reassessment Friday

Date:Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 5:00 pm
District:05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties
Contact:Kevin Drabinski or Jim Shivers
  
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UPDATE #1

HIGHWAY 1 CLOSURE ON THE BIG SUR COAST EXTENDED

PENDING ASSESSMENTS THIS FRIDAY

MONTEREY and SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTIES – A full closure of Highway 1 on the Big Sur Coast will now remain in effect through Friday Jan. 29. The extension of this closure is in support of ongoing evacuations that are expected to continue into Thursday and Friday this week and to assess damage from this week’s rainstorm.

This closure extends from Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County to just south of Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn in Monterey County (44.6 miles). The closure began on Tuesday Jan. 26, at 5 pm.

Monterey County has issued an Evacuation Order 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.

There are several areas of moderate damage, rockfall, and mudflows on Highway 1 inside the closure. Significant rain is expected this evening and the overnight hours.

Assessments are expected to take place Friday morning, Jan. 29, prior to any decision about a possible reopening of the highway or modifications to the highway closure.

More information will be known following these assessments and an update will be provided Friday afternoon.