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Road closures, downed trees, power outages across SLO County during Sunday’s soaking

Sunday's storm brings strong winds, as downed power lines cut electricity throughout SLO County

Power outages reported in Los Osos, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Cambria and Nipomo left about 5,000 customers without power on Sunday, January 22, 2017.
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Power outages reported in Los Osos, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Cambria and Nipomo left about 5,000 customers without power on Sunday, January 22, 2017.

Road closures, fallen trees, power outages and flooding proliferated around San Luis Obispo County during Sunday’s storm that dumped anywhere from 0.12 inches at the Salinas Dam to 4.02 inches on Rocky Butte.

The rain is predicted to continue into Monday, when the area could see from 0.5 to 1 inch of rain, according to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey. A cold, unstable air mass is forecast to move in, causing more showers and a chance of thunderstorms. That rain will dry up by Tuesday afternoon, and the weather is forecast to stay dry through the end of the month.

Sunday’s storm, which had been expected to be the strongest storm of the year, fell short in terms of rainfall but stayed on par in terms of wind, Lindsey said. High winds were prevalent earlier Sunday, and the area was under a wind advisory until noon. From late Saturday into Sunday morning, winds were blowing between 20 and 50 mph throughout the county.

More than 5,000 PG&E customers were without power Sunday morning. That number fell to about 500 affected customers by 5:45 p.m., with many of the outages due to storm-related damage. The number skyrocketed again to about 11,080 customers by 7:45 p.m., when large outages took out parts of Pismo Beach, Atascadero, Grover Beach and Los Osos. By 8:30 p.m., the outages had been reduced to 8,215.

Crashing surf, rushing creeks and pouring rain at Montana de Oro and Morro Bay on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017.

At 10:30 a.m., the Five Cities Fire Authority said it had responded to 11 calls for storm-related service since 7:30 a.m. Around the same time, Cal Fire reported that they were continuing to get reports of downed power lines and trees in Nipomo.

A boat washed up onto the beach at Port San Luis on Sunday morning, KSBY reported. The 35-foot crab boat broke free of its moorings and crashed into the rocks before coming to a stop.

The county Public Health Department said Sunday evening that rainfall from the storm caused about 36,000 gallons of sewage to spill between 55 and 95 Broad St. in San Luis Obispo. The department said the sewage spill was not dangerous to the public’s health because of the heavy rains, but advised people not to go swimming in creeks or the ocean because they could come into contact with disease-causing organisms.

By 5 p.m., the number of incidents on the California Highway Patrol’s website had fallen from more than 20 earlier in the day to nine incidents. Of that number, one dealt with downed power lines and three were related to road closures. Only one collision was reported.

Two roads in Arroyo Grande remained closed Sunday afternoon: Pomeroy Road between Grant Avenue and Rocky Place, and Sheridan Road between Highway 1 and Callender Road.

The CHP also reported flooding and debris slides on Old Creek Road in Cayucos, between Highway 1 and Highway 46.

On Sunday afternoon, county public works announced road closures throughout the county. Here they are:

▪ Orlando Drive at Marlborough Lane, Cambria

▪ North River Road at the low river crossing, near San Miguel

▪ Airport Road at the low river crossing, near San Miguel

▪ Branch Mill Road from Huasna Road to School Road, Arroyo Grande

▪ H Street at Margarita Avenue, Santa Margarita

▪ B Street from Birch Avenue to Ash Avenue, Cayucos

The weather in Cayucos was stormy Sunday morning, January, 22, 2017.

In Cambria, the fire department responded to seven downed trees overnight on the western portion of Lodge Hill. One of the trees blocked the Cal Fire station’s driveway, so fire engines could not leave. The Cambria Fire Department covered Cal Fire’s calls until the tree could be removed. At 3 a.m. Sunday, authorities responded to a tree that fell on a house on the 1500 block of Stuart Street. The residents were evacuated and, because of the serious damage, officials condemned the house.

The storm system caused the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for the county in effect until 6 p.m. Monday. The agency also issued a high surf advisory that will last until 6 p.m. Tuesday. The National Weather Service predicts the surf will reach a height of 12 to 18 feet.

Cambrian reporter Kathe Tanner contributed to this story.

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

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