Rivers Rise as Deluge gets Rainy Season Underway

Well, the remnants of Typhoon Melor proved to be every bit as wet as advertised. As it so often does, Mining Ridge (above Big Creek) took the prize with a whopping 21.34 inches of rain. Accumulations of over 10 inches were common at higher elevations in the Santa Lucia’s and, while we haven’t heard of any serious debris flow problems, the rivers and creeks went from trickle to torrent in only a few hours.

The Big Sur River jumped from a flow of about 16cfs (cubic feet per second) to over 5,000cfs last night. The record for the Big Sur is 10,700cfs, set on January 5, 1978 (right after the Marble Cone Fire), so this wasn’t too terrible – although more than impressive for October.

The Rosie’s Bridge gauge on the Carmel River rose from 7cfs to just under 5,000cfs (once the Los Padres Reservoir filled and began to spill). The San Antonio River, which had been dry yesterday morning, was at 7,000cfs and climbing this morning. The Nacimiento River, which drains some of the wettest south coast ridges, went from zero to a ground shaking 18,000cfs overnight (that should put some water back into Lake Nacimiento).

But it’s the Arroyo Seco, with its heavily burned watershed, that produced the most impressive flow; hitting around 20,000cfs late last night. That’s about the same as its maximum post-Marble Cone flows, but still a lot less than its record flow of 28,300cfs, set in 1958. We wonder what that looked like passing through the gorge.

… good thing a storm like this didn’t hit this time last year.

2 Responses to Rivers Rise as Deluge gets Rainy Season Underway

  1. Chris says:

    Lake Nacimento went from 9 to 18% of capacity in 24 hours.

  2. Dick Graybill says:

    Are there any pictures of any of the Ventana rivers at peak flood stage?

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