Five storms could bring seven straight days of rain

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY SCOTT MIDDLECAMP smid­dle­[email protected]­bune­news.com

Satur­day of­fered a brief respite — fol­low­ing Fri­day night’s down­pour — from the series of storms ex­pected to make land­fall on the Cen­tral Coast this week. The heav­i­est of the rain is ex­pected to be­gin early Sun­day morn­ing, con­tin­u­ing un­til Thurs­day.

Fri­day’s storm caused mud and rock slides in Big Sur, which tem­po­rar­ily closed High­way 1. Cal­trans lifted the clo­sure Satur­day morn­ing, but is­sued an­other 48-hour clo­sure no­tice later in the day due to the in­com­ing storm.

The gates on ei­ther side of the Mud Creek and Paul’s slide will be locked dur­ing the clo­sure.

PG&E me­te­o­rol­o­gist John Lind­sey said Big Sur could re­ceive up to 9 inches of rain dur­ing this time, while the rest of the Cen­tral Coast could see 3 to 7 inches.

Fri­day’s rain also brought clo­sures to High­way 1 near Mal­ibu, which was also re­opened on Satur­day morn­ing. Cal­trans ad­vised driv­ers to avoid the Pa­cific Coast High­way dur­ing storms and use High­way 101 in­stead.

Lind­sey said the storms will pro­duce mod­er­ate gale-force winds.

“I’ve been fore­cast­ing weather along the Cen­tral Coast since 1992, I can’t re­call pre­dict­ing pe­ri­ods of mod­er­ate gale-force to fresh gale-force (32 to 46 mph) southerly winds along the coast­line for such a pro­longed pe­riod, Sun­day night into Thurs­day,” Lind­sey said via email.

By Satur­day af­ter­noon, Davis Peak, west of See Canyon, led San Luis Obispo County with 1.87 inches of rain, fol­lowed by the Pre­fumo Crest at 1.45 inches and Di­ablo Canyon with 1.43 inches.

But rain, mud­slides and wind isn’t the only thing Cen­tral Coast res­i­dents will have to con­tend with over the com­ing days.

Warmer-than-av­er­age sea tem­per­a­tures will likely con­trib­ute to the high­est tides of the year — ex­pected in the up­com­ing week — which may re­sult in coastal flood­ing across the county. The high­est tides are pre­dicted to oc­cur from Satur­day, Jan. 19, through Tues­day, Jan. 22.

The re­cent rain­fall has helped fill county reser­voirs. As of Satur­day af­ter­noon, Whale Rock Reser­voir near Cayu­cos was just over 73 per­cent of ca­pac­ity. Lake Nacimiento was at 16 per­cent ca­pac­ity, while Lake San An­to­nio was at 13 per­cent.

Lopez Lake was at nearly 40 per­cent ca­pac­ity, while the Sali­nas Reser­voir in Santa Margarita was at 79 per­cent.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP dmid­dle­[email protected]­bune­news.com

Brian Gust brings his wa­ter­craft into the dock as rain falls Satur­day at Lopez Lake.

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