The Cambrian

El Niño storms into 2016 in Cambria

A rainbow stretches across San Simeon Creek Road on Jan. 5.
A rainbow stretches across San Simeon Creek Road on Jan. 5. Special to The Cambrian

January came in with an El Niño punch, with a series of storms sliding through California from the 1st to the 10th.

The recurring rainfall appeared to validate staff’s Dec. 31 decision to turn off the Cambria Community Services District’s Sustainable Water Facility near San Simeon Creek,

The district’s wastewater treatment plant’s gauge recorded nearly 3 inches of rain between Jan. 3 and Jan. 10.

More rain is expected Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 16, 18 and 19. As John Lindsey, PG&E meteorologist, said in his forecast early on Jan. 12, “Next Monday and Tuesday will see increasing southerly winds and periods of moderate to heavy rain as a series of low-pressure systems move through California. More wet and unsettled weather is forecast through the following week.”

According to law enforcement and fire department records, no major incidents or damage were reported in the Cambria-San Simeon-Harmony area during the first wave of storms. As Blair Gillespie, Cal Fire captain, said in a phone interview Tuesday, Jan. 12, “It was unusually quiet” on the North Coast, as areas of the county further south got hammered by flooding, large power outages and falling trees.

A large tree did fall on San Simeon Liquor, 431 Pico Avenue, causing some damage. The store was open for business soon thereafter, but an employee said he wasn’t authorized to speak about the incident or estimates about what repairs would cost.

Some people said they’d heard other trees falling in various parts of Cambria, especially on the windiest days, but apparently none of those incidents caused sufficient damage to trigger a report to officials.

There were a couple of small power outages on the North Coast.

Steady rainfall added up but didn’t appear to overwhelm flood-control infrastructure. Some roadway gutters filled up briefly, but for the most part, the accumulated rainfall seemed to drain away soon after the precipitation stopped.

But, as Gillespie said, people shouldn’t expect that the rest of the season’s storms will be as cooperative as those in the first week of January.

“We’ll get our turn,” Gillespie said. “The El Niño-influenced storms are in the pipeline.”

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