Weather

Storm updates: Water rescues, closures, weather forecast for SLO County

Update: 7:40 p.m.

Though this storm has caused flooding, car crashes, road closures and multiple swift-water rescues, it also brought SLO County up to 61 percent of normal rainfall, according to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.

"At the end of February, beginning of March we were essentially 30 percent of normal," Lindsey said. "This is a big improvement."

Lindsey said the rainfall is coming "to an abrupt end" about 8 p.m. Thursday.

And on Friday, it's not supposed to rain at all.

Friday will see strong- to gale-force northwesterly winds and dry weather, but there will be areas of dense ground fog and mist, especially in the inland valleys, due to all the moisture left over from the storm, Lindsey said.

Rain showers are forecast to return Saturday into Sunday.

For more on the SLO County weather forecast, go here: Did we get enough rain yet? Not quite — but March storms give SLO County a big boost

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LO County rainfall totals as of Thursday afternoon

Update: 6:15 p.m.

Flooding has prompted closures at Pismo State Beach and the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, State Parks announced Thursday afternoon.

Pismo State Beach North Beach Campground is closed until the water recedes, the area is safe, and park operations and services can be restored to normal.

More on this story: Pismo campground, parts of Oceano Dunes closed due to flooding

Update: 3:20 p.m.

The Paso Robles Fire Department and the California Highway Patrol rescued 10 people from the Salinas River on Thursday when heavy rains turned the channel into a muddy torrent.

Fire Chief Jonathan Stornetta said six of those were airlifted to safety by a CHP helicopter, while the other four were rescued by firefighters who swam out and brought them to shore.

For more on this developing story, go here: CHP helicopter, firefighters rescue 10 people from Salinas River in Paso Robles

Update: 1:10 p.m.

Video from the Halcon Road crossing in Atascadero where the Salinas River has washed out a section of the road:

Update: Noon

Overnight, some parts of SLO County received a whopping 3 inches of rain or more. Los Osos came in at 4.02 inches for the 24 hours before 8 a.m. this morning, according to SLOCountyWater.org. Elsewhere in the county: Cambria got 3.19 inches; Camp San Luis, 3.94 inches; Rocky Butte, 7.41 inches; Nipomo, about 2 inches; and Atascadero, 2.64 inches.

Rain is expected to continue through most Thursday but will start to taper off about 4 p.m., according to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey. A break in the rain is expected Friday, and showers will continue on Saturday and Sunday.

More weather coverage:

»» MORE RAINFALL TOTALS:SLO County rainfall totals as of Thursday morning

»» ON THE ROADS:Here's a list of crashes, flooding and road closures in SLO County

Update: 10:25 a.m.

Emergency crews are performing a swift water rescue on Thursday morning involving multiple people in the Salinas River near the Niblick Street and 13th Street bridges in Paso Robles.

For more on this developing story, go here: Multiple people being rescued from Salinas River in Paso Robles

Update: 10:10 a.m.

With rain continuing to fall, more slides have closed Highway 1 at two locations between Ragged Point and Paul’s Slide, Caltrans said Thursday morning. On Thursday, the road was closed from Nacimiento-Ferguson Road to Paul’s Slide, as a result of rocks in the roadway, Susana Cruz of Caltrans wrote in a press release.

For more on this developing story, go here: New rockslide blocks Highway 1 in Monterey County near Lucia

Update: 9:20 a.m.

San Luis Bay Drive along San Luis Creek is closed due to flooding, according to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey. You can find a running list of road closures, flooding and crashes here.

Original story:

Rain continued pounding San Luis Obispo County on Thursday morning, with rescues, flooding and crashes reported.

From 1:15 a.m. through 7:15 a.m., most sites in SLO County, especially north of SLO, received more than an inch of rain, according to data from the San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department. Camp San Luis Obispo recorded 1.77 inches, Templeton recorded 1.81 inches and Cambria recorded 1.06 inches. Upper Toro, west of Atascadero, recorded 2.76 inches in six hours.

Atascadero recorded 1.30 inches, while farther south, the Arroyo Grande Creek received 0.62 inches and Oceano recorded 0.59 inches.

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The National Weather Service extended a flood advisory that was in effect until 9:15 a.m. Tuesday. Just before 6 a.m., the NWS said rainfall rates in San Luis Obispo County were between 0.25 and 0.50 inches per hour.

"With these rainfall rates, flooding of roadways as well as small streams will continue," the NWS said. A separate flash flood watch remains in effect for all of San Luis Obispo County until 5 p.m. Thursday.

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Sara Arnett, who lives at the end of Toro Creek Road in Atascadero, woke up at about 4 a.m. when she heard a roaring sound.

When she walked outside, she saw that the creek had risen up to about midway on the back tires of her truck.

"The creek was so high that it actually trapped me back here," she wrote in a Facebook message. Arnett said her husband was out of town for work during the storm and described the fear she felt as she tried to stay calm for her toddler and think of the best plan. She spoke with an Atascadero police officer who advised her to stay alert and leave only if necessary.

"This morning was absolutely terrifying," she said. "We haven't lived out here very long and this is our first rainy season on this property."

She packed a backpack with necessities including food, water, a walkie talkie and rain gear and dressed to leave if necessary. Fortunately, the water receded, though Arnett said they lost 14 chicks that were in a barn during the storm.

"I couldn't believe the debris it left behind ... I had NO idea that tiny creek could get so high, so quickly," she wrote. "If anything, this has taught me that you can never be too prepared."

In Cambria, water pooled in the Pinedorado Grounds next to the Vets Hall on Main Street, in the Shell station and on Sheffield Drive.

The Shell station in the West Village is part of a stretch of Main Street that turned into a river during the flood of 1995.

Some Cambria property owners reported having flooding issues outside and water levels rose as flows increased on Santa Rosa and San Simeon creeks.

Michele Oksen, who lives in the Santa Lucia Mountains, wrote Thursday morning on Facebook: "Someone ran over heaven's hydrant! 11 inches and still raining hard ..."

Unlike some storms, the heavy rains weren't accompanied by much wind in Cambria, and the Cambria Fire Department reported that they hadn't received any storm-related calls by midday.

By 8:20 a.m., the California Highway Patrol's incident information log showed 11 incidents throughout San Luis Obispo County, most related to rain or flooding.

The intersection of Del Rio Road and Monterey Road in Atascadero was flooded early Thursday morning. Flooding also forced Highway 1 at Division Road near Guadalupe to close at about 7 a.m., according to Caltrans.

Cal Fire said they conducted a swift water rescue just before 7 a.m. in the area of Highway 58 off of Highway 101. According to Cal Fire, there was a vehicle accident into a creek crossing and a man was rescued from a tree in about 2 feet of moving water, according to spokesman Chris Elms. Additional information was not immediately available.

Farther south, in Santa Barbara County, the county's Office of Emergency Management sent out a message at about 5:20 a.m. that read "the storm is setting up as predicted." The agency said to expect "heavy rain and debris flows in and below the Santa Barbara County burn areas."

Flooding in creeks, streams and lowland areas is possible countywide, the agency said.

Local PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey said Wednesday afternoon that there is a chance of thunderstorms into Thursday, with strong to gale-force (25 to 38 mph) northwesterly winds. Heavy rain is expected to continue through the morning, but by 4 p.m. Thursday, the rain is expected to taper off.

A break in the rain is expected Friday and showers are forecast for Saturday and Sunday, Lindsey said.

This story will be updated.

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