The calm before the storm?
Following last year’s fires, Big Sur sweated through the rainy season knowing that a single heavy rain could unleash destructive debris flows. And, amazingly, although the total rainfall for the year was close to normal, the rain spread itself out so evenly throughout the season that, with a few minor exceptions, all trouble was avoided. Can anyone remember another year, other than major drought years, when Big Sur didn’t get even one serious rain?
The good news is that with a full season of new growth completed, the mountains are much less susceptible to debris flows than they were a year ago at this time. The bad news is that they’re still a good deal more susceptible than they were before the fires. And it’s starting to look like this year’s rainy season may start with just the kind of storm we avoided completely last year.
The remnants of Typhoon Melor are, even now, speeding across the Pacific toward the Central Coast and expected to arrive sometime Monday night. Heaviest rain is expected on Tuesday with accumulations of 8 inches or more possible in the Santa Lucias, along with 60mph (likely much higher on the high ridges) winds. The National Weather Service says it could prove to be one of the 10 strongest storms of the past 30 years. A highly unusual event for October.
What kind of problems a storm like this will cause if, in fact, it arrives as advertised, remain to be seen. Perhaps the dry mountainsides will just soak all that moisture right up … but we wouldn’t count on it.
Whatever happens, let’s just be grateful a storm like this didn’t hit this time last year!
Will the debris flow barriers decorating the coast finally see some action?
Follow the evolving forecast here.
See our links page for a wide, if not bewildering, variety of rain gauge, stream gauge and real-time weather links.