The Cambrian

Last week’s storm brought heavy rain, wind and Hwy. 1 closures to North Coast

Storm prompts flash-flood warning, downs trees in SLO

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning in the early morning hours for an area from San Luis Obispo south into Santa Barbara County. The severe weather downed trees, made roads slippery and had minor flooding before the rain slowed.
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The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning in the early morning hours for an area from San Luis Obispo south into Santa Barbara County. The severe weather downed trees, made roads slippery and had minor flooding before the rain slowed.

Highway 1 is open under sunny skies again after Caltrans closed certain sections Jan. 14 to help keep people safe during heavy rain storms. When road crews had cleared small slides and falls of large rocks, and Mother Nature had cleared the skies somewhat, the state road agency reopened the road Friday, Jan. 18.

The initial preemptive Highway 1 closures had been hard lock-outs at the Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide areas (where big landslides had contributed to an 18-month closure of the scenic highway so crews could clear landslides and repair or completely redo the roadway). Caltrans extended the closure to other areas on Jan. 16, stretching from Fullers/Deetjen’s (42 miles north of the SLO/Monterey county line) to Ragged Point, which is at the boundary between the two counties.

Those same storms brought wild winter weather to the North Coast overnight from Wednesday into Thursday, Jan. 16-17. The scenario that night included vivid lightning, thunder, strong winds, occasional deluges and not much sleep for many people, some of whom reported their experiences on social media.

Judith Larmore called it “an old-fashioned Indiana storm here tonight. Lots of thunder and lightning.”

Beverly Snelling DeLauer called it “a rousing storm! I thought it was going to huff and puff ‘til it blew my house down.”

And Theresa Desmond reported seeing “lightning 3x in a row,” and “heard a loud crackle-buzz sound simultaneously,” perhaps hitting electrical transformers nearby. “We are powerless,” she said.

Michele Oksen said from upper San Simeon Creek Road, “It was a wild night…we got another 3 inches (of rain), so now we’re just over 20 inches for the season.”

While some trees fell under the onslaught, no major North Coast damage was reported to emergency crews, and apparently nobody was injured. Electrical service was interrupted for a couple of areas, especially in the Bradford area of Lodge Hill, where a tree “hit one home, but glanced off one side,” according to Fire Chief William Hollingsworth.

Accumulated rainfall over the five days varied, depending on location.

A few sections of Lodge Hill reported getting more than 4 inches of rain during the week of wet. So far this rain season, Rocky Butte has had 24.23 inches of rain, with more than half of that falling between Jan. 1 and Jan. 22.

King tides, high swells and stiff winds made wave watching exciting, with strong caveats about maintaining a safe distance and not ever turning your back on the ocean.

Friday and Saturday provided a couple of days of lovely clear, cool winter weather. Unfortunately for sky watchers, that didn’t extend to Sunday night, so many people were “clouded out” of seeing the total eclipse of a Super Blood Wolf Moon.

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