Big Sur River Back Above Flood Stage


Big Sur Rain

Shortly before 3:00 pm this afternoon, the Big Sur River pushed its gauge above the 10 foot level that marks the official flood stage. The gauge was at 10.04 feet by 3:00, or 4,250 cubic feet per second. The river reached a peak flow of 4,950 cfs last Wednesday (10.54 feet).

Heavy rain is still falling over the Big Sur watershed at this time, but should begin decreasing soon as the storm moves off to the south. The watershed is small, so the river won’t keep rising for long, once the rain relents. Serious flooding is unlikely to occur until the gauge height exceeds 11 feet.

3:30 pm Update: River now at 5,250 cfs (Gauge height 10.75). That’s an increase of 1,000 cfs in half an hour.

4:00 pm Update: River now at 6,020 cfs (11.26 feet). Still rising quickly, though not as quickly. This is the largest flow the Big Sur River has seen since 6,590 cfs was recorded in February, 1998. Radar suggests heavy rain is still falling in the Big Sur watershed.

4:45 pm Update: River now at 6,420 cfs (11.53 feet). Rain may be easing some.

5:00 pm Update: Latest reading is 6,620 cfs (11.66 feet). This exceeds the 1998 flow and is the third highest flow ever recorded on the Big Sur River (after 1978 and 1995).

5:15 pm Update: Now the second largest flow ever recorded on the Big Sur River at 6,700 cfs (11.72 feet). With rain beginning to recede, there’s not much chance of it matching the 1978 flow of 10,700 cfs, I’m glad to say. Flows have been recorded since 1950.

5:30 pm Update: Still inching upward. Now 6,790 cfs (11.78 feet).

5:45 pm Update: 6,820 cfs (11.80 feet). How high will it go?

6:00 pm Update: Still 6,820 cfs at 6:00 pm. Have we finally found the peak?

6:15 pm Update: Yes! The river is now receding. 6,790 cfs (11.78 feet) at 6:15.



3 Responses to Big Sur River Back Above Flood Stage

  1. bigsurkate says:

    Thanks, Keith. I am sure all eyes are on the river – or at least they should be…

  2. pantilat says:

    Likely blew past 11 ft and wonder how high it will go in the next couple hours with this last burst of very heavy rain that is still over the watershed.

  3. Paul h says:

    Big heads up for weekend (jan 21-22) after this and very likely could be when major catastrophic flooding hits most of central california. The climate prediction center (cpc) has big sur in bullseye for another atmospheric river event and should even be stronger than these first few. It appears the teleconnections like the madden joulian oscillation waking up in central equatorial pacific, rapidly weakening La Nina, solar min, and last but not least global warming will create ideal ocean atmospheric coupling to support torrential rains along the mid latitudes in the northern hemisphere and very strong dangerous storms along the west coast of north america. I would not put your guard down with this break after the wed storm and get very prepared to be cut off for many weeks!! Lastly rivers are extemely dangerous when cresting bankfull and do not venture close to banks or unstable trees!!

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