Lifting Clouds: 2:30pm November 30, 2012; as at least 9 solid hours of rain finally ends
It’s been awhile … a long while … since we’ve had as many hours of continuous rain as we had today. It’s early in the season, though, with the streams low and the watersheds still pretty dry, so it hasn’t created as much havoc as it might during wetter times.
Rainfall rates of an inch an hour or better at the height of the storm led to flash flood warnings in Jamesburg and Big Sur, but it was the small local streams the National Weather Service was concerned about, not the larger creeks and rivers. The Big Sur River peaked at around 2,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) early this afternoon, for instance; a record flow for the date, but only about half the flow needed for the river to reach flood stage, and less than a quarter of the 1978 flow of 10,700 cfs (which did result in some flooding).
The Mining Ridge rain gauge, behind Big Creek, has once again recorded the most rain of any Monterey County gauge, with 8.15 inches in the past 24 hours. Other impressive totals include Anderson Peak, with 6.37 inches and White Rock Ridge, with 6.26 inches.
The volatile Nacimiento River, dry only two days ago, is currently at 371 cfs and still climbing. The Carmel River peaked at only a little over 60 cfs (probably because the Los Padres Dam wasn’t yet full when the rain began); and the Arroyo Seco River is at 600 cfs, and climbing. None of these streams is likely to cause any problems … unless, of course, the storm coming in tomorrow night proves even rainier than this one (which appears to be at least possible).
9:45pm Update: The Arroyo Seco River peaked at over 7,000 cfs this evening. The Nacimiento River reached about 2,400 cfs. The Los Padres Dam is now spilling, and has pushed the flow in the Carmel River up to 185 cfs. The Big Sur River is all the way back down to 532 cfs. Check our links page to find stream gauges.
It was nice to ‘hear’ the water filling our aquifers, and giving everything a cleansing bath. It always amazes me how quickly the local waterways can peak and fall in just a few hours. Thanks for keeping us all informed.