North Coast residents are bracing themselves today, Jan. 21, for the fourth in a series of winter storms marching through the area. The storm siege brought stiff winds, heavy downpours, lightning and thunder, especially on Wednesday.
Many are digging out from under fallen trees, water or mud, or are resetting their digital clocks and appliances for the umpteenth time after electrical ser vice repeatedly blinked or went out.
Meteorologists predict more rain today and Friday, with a possible break on the weekend, but another storm could arrive on Monday.
By 9 a.m. Wednesday, about 2,000 customers of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. were without power in Cambria, San Simeon and Harmony, down from about 6,000 earlier that morning, according to Emily Archer, a spokesperson for the utility firm. Numerous other outages, some as long as 24 hours, had been reported and corrected throughout the storm period.
The apparent key to minimal area damage Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 18 and 19, was the fast-
moving nature of the first two storms that blew in and very quickly blew back out again.
Hearst Castle was closed for tours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after winds of up to 60 mph ripped roof tiles off the Castle’s main building and flung them across the grounds Monday, making conditions unsafe for the public and staff alike. The entire monument, including the theater and the visitor center, were closed on Wednesday, because power was out, winds were very strong and rain was heavy.
High, rough waves apparently undermined support for a set of stairs leading from the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk to the shore. State Park rangers closed the staircase Tuesday; it now ends substantially above sea level.
The rain delayed the start of a county repaving job on Main Street in West Village that was to have begun Tuesday, Jan. 19. The work might begin during the week of Jan. 25, but weather and the Cambria Art & Wine Festival might mean another postponement to the first week of February, according to Resident Engineer Joe Whalen.
Between Monday’s first wave of rain and wind and 8 a.m. Wednesday, 2.32 inches of rain fell at the Cambria Fire Department’s Burton Drive station. During that time, the department took reports about at least nine trees went down onto houses, cars, roadways or a hydrant, usually taking power and other utility lines with them. No injuries were reported, according to a fire depar tment spokesman.
Minor landslides blocked lanes or partial lanes on Main Street, Cornwall Street and other roadways. Road crews quickly scraped off the goo and got traf fic flowing again where there had been mud.
Then on Wednesday, a fierce storm slammed into the North Coast with high winds, thunder, lightning, rain and many falling trees.
Some locations appeared to take more of the brunt. Wednesday morning, emergency crews were called repeatedly to Top of the World, Lodge Hill and other hard-hit areas.
As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Cambria Fire Depar tment’s automated weather station had recorded a peak wind gust of 46 mph at 9:42 a.m. PG&E’s weather station near Avila Beach had hit 66 mph at 9 a.m. Hi Mountain Condor Lookout, east of San Luis Obispo near Santa Margarita, reported a wind gust of 88 mph Monday, according to area meteorologist John Lindsey.