Weather

SLO County gets soaked as storms smash California

Santa Rosa Creek overflows at Moonstone Beach in Cambria

Stormy weather hit the Central Coast and San Luis Obispo County on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. The effects of the wet and windy weather were clear at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, where Santa Rosa Creek overflowed and rushed toward the ocean. High winds
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Stormy weather hit the Central Coast and San Luis Obispo County on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. The effects of the wet and windy weather were clear at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, where Santa Rosa Creek overflowed and rushed toward the ocean. High winds

A strong storm system moved into the Central Coast on Saturday, dropping steady rainfall and causing road closures and power outages in San Luis Obispo County.

Several streams also swelled in the downpour, which may have been the first act of an even bigger weather event — gusty winds, thunder, lightning and possibly hail were in the forecast for the Central Coast on Saturday evening, PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey said.

As of 8:45 p.m. Saturday, 3.07 inches of rain had fallen on Rocky Butte east of San Simeon, according to the SLO County Public Works Department. San Simeon and Cambria both saw more than 1.5 inches by that time, while more than an inch had fallen in Templeton and at Upper Toro Creek Road. San Luis Obispo recorded about 0.71 inches.

Advisories for high winds, coastal flooding and flash flooding are in effect through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm’s effects were felt around San Luis Obispo County on Saturday.

Highway 41 between Atascadero and Morro Bay remained closed following a mudslide, while officials closed a stretch of Highway 1 because of multiple rockslides, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans spokesman Colin Jones said Highway 41 would be closed “indefinitely,” as crews worked to clear debris from the 250-foot hillside that shut down the road about 7:30 p.m. Friday.

“Fortunately, there were no injuries, but that’s a pretty rugged area out there,” Jones said.

The highway is closed for about 6 miles between Two Tunnel Road and Los Altos Road.

Although road crews can clear out the roadway, the greater concern is instability at the top of the slide that could topple, Jones said. The top of the slide probably will need to be cleared and stabilized before the roadway can open and traffic can resume, he said.

“We have geologists and engineers and a contractor out there,” Jones said.

Work may be halted overnight or in heavy rain, but “we will keep a close eye on it,” Jones said.

Highway 41 closed Friday, January 6, 2017, after mudslides during heavy rains. The closure is between Ironwood Drive in Morro Bay and San Gabriel Road in Atascadero.

Caltrans also closed an almost 23-mile portion of Highway 1 near Ragged Point because of multiple rockslides.

Jones said the closure begins near the San Luis Obispo-Monterey county line and ends south of Big Sur.

Another mudslide was reported about 6:30 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of Old Creek Road and Santa Rita Road east of Cayucos, according to the California Highway Patrol. About 8 p.m., flooding also was reported along most of Old Creek Road between Highway 1 and Highway 46, according to the CHP.

The stormy conditions also knocked out power to thousands of San Luis Obispo County residents, according to PG&E.

More than 2,400 customers in Baywood Park and Los Osos lost power Saturday evening, and service was restored to all but 93 of them by 6:30 p.m., said Lindsey of PG&E.

Earlier in the day, more than 400 customers in Atascadero were without power before it was restored at 4:19 p.m., Lindsey said.

More water was flowing through San Luis Obispo Creek on Saturday, January 7, 2017, as heavy rain continued to hit San Luis Obispo County.

Some county creeks and streams swelled or overflowed during Saturday’s deluge.

A rolling San Luis Obispo Creek was noticeably inundated, and Arroyo Grande Creek trickled onto the beach at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, making recreational travel difficult for visiting campers.

In Cambria, an overflowing Santa Rosa Creek covered a large stretch of Moonstone Beach, as high winds created large, crashing waves.

Forecasters have said this weekend’s storm could be the biggest to hit drought-stricken California in 10 years, The Associated Press reported.

Up to 15 inches of rain could fall in some Northern California communities, and Yosemite National Park closed all roads leading to the its valley floor because of flooding, the AP reported.

Mark Powell: 805-781-7915

Tribune staff members Janet Lavelle, Melissa Blanton and Laura Dickinson contributed to this report.

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