Carmel River Reaches the Sea for First Time in Almost Two Years

December 13, 2014

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The slowly rising lagoon reached the top of the bar shortly before sunrise this morning. Read the rest of this entry »

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Storm More Impressive in Town Than in the Hills

December 12, 2014

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The Monterey Peninsula and the Carmel River mouth. Although the Carmel River is now flowing under Rosie’s Bridge, in the Village, no water has yet made it as far as the lagoon. Water reached the lagoon about 9:00 am this morning!

Before it even arrived, yesterday’s storm was being hailed as the storm of the decade, the century, or even of all time – both in terms of wind and rain. In the actual event, while wind gusts of up to 147 mph were recorded on the Sierra crest near Donner Pass, winds in coastal areas were much less severe than had been feared. The highest winds recorded in Big Sur and the Santa Lucia mountains were only a bit over 50 mph, which is nothing out of the ordinary for winter storms there. Read the rest of this entry »


South Coast Ridges Get Nearly a Foot of Rain: Rivers Slow to React

December 4, 2014

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The dry bed of the Nacimiento River has finally gotten a rinse

As is so often the case in major storms, Mining Ridge, above Big Creek on Big Sur’s South Coast, has logged the highest rain total (11.98 inches for the past five days) of any spot in the San Francisco Bay area. Normally, rain of this magnitude would result in very high flows on the Nacimiento and San Antonio Rivers. But these aren’t normal times. Thanks to the extremely dry conditions, most of the rain simply soaked into the ground.

The Nacimiento and San Antonio rivers remained dry at the gauging stations above the reservoirs throughout the storms and it was starting to look like neither lake was going to receive any runoff at all. At midnight last night, however, a flash flood that peaked at around 1,000 cubic feet per second reached the Nacimiento Gauge, and is now flowing into Lake Nacimiento.

While this isn’t going to change the dire situation at the Lake in a significant way, we can at least hope it proves a harbinger of better things to come. Which is important, since Lake Nacimiento is currently at only 16% of capacity and Lake San Antonio is essentially dry at 3% capacity.