Mother Nature’s storm door has apparently not only swung wide open over the Central Coast, it’s apparently not going to slam shut anytime soon, according to forecasters
A prolonged dry, hot spell at the start of 2018 and sparse precipitation overall in the current rain season had been prompting dire drought predictions.
Then Mother Nature did a 180, and people started whispering about the possibility of a “Miracle March” in terms of rainfall. (In 1991, a series of March storms ended a drought that had begun in 1986.)
So far this month, the North Coast has been doused by a series of late-winter storms that, by Wednesday morning, March 14, had dumped more than 3 inches of rainfall on some Cambria neighborhoods. More has fallen in the hills, providing the potential for underflow that feeds the aquifers which provide drinkable water to the community.
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After fairly heavy rain Tuesday night, runoff was accumulating in gutters and low spots, and the forest and gardens were luxuriating after a good drenching. Wednesday morning, some area creeks were flowing through to the ocean, after breaking through the sandbars that block that flow during the dry season.
By about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Kathy Unger reported that her rain gauge on Buckley Road had accumulated “almost an inch and a quarter so far this storm and close to 3.5 for the month and over 8 inches for the season! Hallelujah!”
Rocky Butte, dubbed “the wettest spot in San Luis Obispo County” received 3 inches of rain in the 48 hours up to 7 a.m. Wednesday and almost 17 inches for the rain season. Water flows from that area into the San Simeon Creek aquifer, one of Cambria’s water sources.
By early Wednesday morning, Cambria Fire personnel were calling conditions “pretty mellow,” and said they hadn’t yet gotten any storm-or-wind-related calls for emergency situations.
However, to nobody’s surprise, a small landslide closed another area on Highway 1 north. The Chimney Slide near Big Sur is about 3 miles south of Lucia and 20 miles north of the Monterey County line. Caltrans officials were to have reassessed the situation Wednesday morning.
More storms are predicted for next week, according to a March 14 forecast from PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.
Miracle March? Maybe.