The National Weather Service Southern Monterey Bay/Big Sur Coast Forecast.
The reasoning behind the forecast.
Current watches, warnings & advisories for Southern Monterey Bay and the Big Sur Coast
Covers most of Central and Northern California.
A nifty map of Monterey County showing rain gauge locations and the amount of rain they’ve measured over the past 24 hours (6 hour and 1 hour totals also available). Supposedly updates every hour, but we’ve noticed that this seems to be more of a future goal than a present reality.
Detects and locates lightning strikes in real time (updates every minute!). Warning: viewing this site can be dangerously addictive when major thunder storms are working.
How big is that winter swell? Find out here.
Storm chaser’s weather map of the whole country. Select satellite, radar, lightening detection, etc. and zoom in as close as you want. Updates every 5 minutes. The single best source for seeing what’s happening and what’s coming.
Displays temperatures, wind speeds, precipitation totals, and more for the last hour to 24 hours from hundreds of recording stations around the country.
How many cubic feet per second are flowing down the Big Sur River? Get an answer here.
The maximum streamflow (10,700cfs) recorded at this station was during the floods of January 5, 1978; the winter following the Marble Cone Fire. That flow dwarfs the next highest peak (6,690cfs on March 10, 1995).
Maximum flow recorded at this station was 16,000cfs on March 10, 1995. 7,030cfs was recorded here on January 16, 1978; following Marble Cone. See this post for a discussion of the impact of the debris laden 1978 flow on the storage capacity of the Los Padres Dam. Click here to view a gauge closer to the river mouth.
The Arroyo Seco is anything-but-seco during winter storms. A whopping 28,300cfs was recorded at this station on April 3, 1958. The March 10, 1995 storm nearly equalled this total with 27,300cfs. Post Marble Cone flows hit a maximum of 20,900cfs on February 7, 1978.
The March 10, 1995 storm gave this station its maximum flow of 23,600cfs. Post Marble Cone flows hit a peak of 8,790cfs on January 16, 1978
This peaceful little creek looks pretty harmless, but you probably shouldn’t camp too close to its banks on rainy nights. The Nacimiento drains some of the south coast’s rainiest ridges – and if you’ve ever watched the rainfall totals down there you know what that means. On at least four occasions in the past 30 years the Nacimiento River has produced flows in excess of 40,000cfs. The record for this station is an amazing 57,600cfs recorded on January 4, 1993 (an amount greater than the peak flow of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in most years). The previous record was 57,000cfs, recorded on January 6, 1978.
Trail Conditions & Other Backcountry Info
Probably the best source for news on all things related to the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas. Absorb a wealth of Santa Lucia knowledge by watching honed Ventana veterans, like Boon and JAPundit, school newcomers in the ways of the wild. But beware. Not everyone who posts on the Forum knows what they’re talking about and, while the moderators delete the most egregious stuff, no one is really filtering what is posted for accuracy.
Reports from trail users keep you as up to date as possible on trail conditions.
Considering how infrequently this page gets updated, it should probably be called the Historic Conditions Page. Don’t look here for breaking news.
The official source for information on road closures and traffic hazards of all kinds. Tends to bog down when a lot of people try to view it at once (i.e. during storms and at other times when it is most needed). You’d think they’d anticipate this and plan for it.
Info on highway closures, areas subject to construction delays, etc.
The latest updates from the Public Works Department.
Set up in the heat of the Basin Complex Fire, this site has now become something of an official outlet for information on Big Sur disaster preparedness and current conditions.
Not so long ago, South Coast residents kept in touch with one another via an elaborate CB network. Today, all they need is an Internet connection and a hotlink to Big Sur Kate. Kate watches the South Coast like a hawk and updates frequently. She’s also an accomplished photographer. Every community should be lucky enough to have a site like this.
A collaborative effort by a loose association of seldom-seen denizens of the backcountry. Just getting going, but already packed with interesting Santa Lucia lore.
We won’t even attempt to describe the breadth of images and ideas you’ll encounter here. Their Palo Colorado-based Sarhentaruc Journal is highly recommended.
Musings and journeys along Highway One.
Andy Griffin’s fantastic farm blog.
The Central Coast cycling lifestyle.
Sterling’s body may be on another continent, but his heart, quite clearly, remains in Big Sur.
The latest from the Library.
Notes from Hastings Reserve in upper Carmel Valley.
A blog that distills the essential essence of Big Sur and successfully translates it for the web.
Whatever Michael Jones and his outspoken, outrageous, and sometimes way, way off the rails blog is, it isn’t dull. He provided an unvarnished view of what it was like to live close to the action during the Basin Complex Fire. Today you’ll likely find him grappling with everything from food trends to presidential politics.
Big Sur blog focused on writing and poetry. Good fire posts and photos.
The view from Nepenthe.
USGS webcam located near their gauging station. Although the controls can be quite sluggish, you can zoom in, zoom out and pan the camera up and down and back and forth for upstream or downstream views. Only active during the rainy season. Hasn’t been fully functional recently.
Watch winter storms erode Del Monte Beach before your very eyes!
Streaming video of the surf at Carmel Beach (or whatever else they may happen to point the camera at).
Streaming video from the MARS Ocean Observatory 2,923 feet below the surface of the sea. The first time we tuned in a big crab was strutting around in front of the camera. We haven’t seen anything quite as exciting since.
Usually a fantastic source of information on breaking fire developments posted by firefighting professionals and fanatics who spend their time listening to fire command radio traffic. Unfortunately, information on local fires grows sparse when more interesting fires are burning in other parts of the state.
Contains basic information on current and recent fires, as well as floods, tsunamis and other “incidents” within CAL FIRE’s purview.
Intended to be the most up-to-date source for official fire information, this site is infamous for crashing whenever it comes under heavy load (i.e.when fires are burning), but appears to be improving. Due to the Forest Service culture of secrecy, reading Inciweb reports can be a lot like reading Politburo press releases. One must read between the lines and compare today’s official line with yesterday’s to get a sense of what’s really going on.
Editorial Rant: There is simply no reason why the Forest Service, with lots of up-to-date information circulating around on its internal servers and a small army of “information officers” shouldn’t be able to make important information (i.e. the location of the fire, its projected rate of progress and the current plans for stopping it) available to the public in a timely fashion. The Forest Service complains about misinformation being spread by blogs, but never specifies what information they believe is inaccurate and fails to offer accurate information of their own (creating the information vacuum that the blogs attempt, accurately or not, to fill). Instead, they endanger the public by routinely failing to acknowledge when previously announced firelines have been abandoned or breached and by posting grievously outdated fire maps. In our opinion, people ought to have a right to complete information when they’re living in the path of a fire. “Be prepared to evacuate if ordered to do so” doesn’t cut it.
An excellent source of reliable fire information.
Detailed information on fires near and far.
Links to evacuation orders, road closures, incident reports and official documents of all kinds. During past fires, this page has not been updated in a timely fashion.
2008 Basin Complex/Indians/Chalk Fire Links
Internal (Xasáuan Today) Links:
Our own day by day, hour by hour, blow by blow, page after page reporting of the Basin Complex fire as it happened. Mainly of historical interest, yet still one of the most popular destinations on this site.
We provide maps illustrating the fire’s rapid spread over its first 6 days.
Provide a clue as to where the fire burned hottest and which watersheds may be most prone to flooding and debris flows. For the best analysis of post-fire hazards see the State Emergency Assessment Team (SEAT) Report (offsite link).
A couple of video clips illustrating the destructive potential of debris flows.
A compilation of pre-fire photos (historic and recent) illustrating the fire’s march across the Santa Lucias.
Our Chalk Fire Page
We try to dispel some common myths – much to the displeasure of Ivan the Irritable.
Photos from the 1972 Molera Fire
When rural residents need info on fires and floods, KUSP Radio is their number one media resource. During the Basin Complex Fire, no other media outlet came close to being as thorough, accurate and up-to-date. The links on their web page will keep you in touch with whatever is happening.
Launched with heat-of-the-moment reports from inside the burning Big Sur Valley, the scope later broadened to include the entire coastal edge of the Basin Complex Fire. Look here for summaries of fire meetings and descriptions of conditions at various points along the coast. Now provides announcements of local events, road closures, etc.
Fire blog from the Zen Mountain Center (Tassajara) that touched off a particularly interesting discussion regarding the divide between the Center’s rural neighbors and its frequently wealthy urban clientele.
Another Big Sur valley fire blog. Started by people upset over posts being deleted from the Surfire Blog, it quickly found a niche as a kind of community bulletin board. It is, unfortunately, rarely updated anymore – although we suspect it will spring back to life when the next disaster strikes.
Palo Colarado blog that provided great fire coverage (particularly of the goings on at Palo Colorado fire meetings), but hasn’t been active in a long time.
Susie posted a great piece on the fire, absolutely peppered with interesting links. And since she’s one of the best bloggers in the business, her site is always worth a visit.
Story and pictures of the Basin Complex Fire’s beginning from a hiker who was on the Pine Ridge Trail.
Photos taken by the monks who saved the Zen Mountain Center. Don’t miss this one.
Amazing photos from fires all over the west. The local photos aren’t new — but worth another look.
Stone House before and after pictures.
Fire photos including pictures of the destruction in the remote Pick Valley.
More Big Sur fire photos than you can possibly sit still for.