So far, we’ve been lucky. We’ve gotten through November, December, January and half of February without a single major storm. The rain has come in such small doses, in fact, that we’ve been wondering whether we shouldn’t be more worried about drought than about the much feared post-fire floods and mudslides.
But the National Weather Service is warning that our luck may be running out. The ground is already soaked and a storm arriving tomorrow morning is looking likely to be the wettest so far this season. No telling whether it will touch off trouble in the burn zones or not but, just in case, we hope everyone on the coast and in the back of beyond has got their larders stocked and won’t be needing to visit town for the next few days …
Another potential trouble spot is the Carmel River Lagoon. Lack of rain and heavy pumping have kept the lower river dry this year and the sand bar across the river mouth is high. Tomorrow’s storm could send a significant flow of water down the river and fill the lagoon in a hurry. If high surf accompanies the storm, it could be difficult for dozer operators to breach the bar in time to prevent flooding.
Carmel’s “Lower Ninth Ward.” This low lying neighborhood, built in what is essentially a part of the Carmel River Lagoon, is subject to flooding at times of high water. Efforts to keep the water artificially low by breaching the sand bar have been a regular ritual since the neighborhood was built. In the old days, the residents used to drag state parks employees out of bed in the middle of the night and demand that they dig through the bar with shovels. These days, the county sends heavy equipment operators to do the job. The rapid draining that often results may be complicating the recovery of the Carmel River steelhead population, as juvenile steelhead are swept into the ocean prematurely.
Check our links page for connections to forecasts, rain and stream gauges, web cams, and everything else you’ll need to keep track of the storm (right up until the power goes out, anyway).
Lived down there on 16th at Camino Real. We experienced high tide coming up through the floor of the house on several ocassion. Fished the lagoon back in the day (old days). Opened the sandbar at the lagoon for the steelhead several times. Remember doing it at night with my dad and others during fierce rain storms. Celebrated many a Fourth of July on the beach with friends during summer.
Remember holding a wake for my wife’s mother at the river mouth one long past April. As we spoke some words, two steelhead swam up over the gravel bar from Carmel Bay and into the river. It was one of those moments.